Alnus glutinosa - (L.) Gaertn.
European Alder
Other English Common Names: European Black Alder
Other Common Names: European alder
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. (TSN 19470)
French Common Names: aulne glutineux
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.135245
Element Code: PDBET01010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Birch Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fagales Betulaceae Alnus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Alnus glutinosa
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (25Oct2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Vermont (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, MA, MIexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, PAexotic, TNexotic, VTexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada NSexotic, ONexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: High/Medium
Rounded I-Rank: High
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Alnus glutinosa is a nitrogen fixer and can create monospecific stands. It is naturalized in the northeastern U.S. and in New England, it inhabits early successional forest, edge, floodplain forest, forest wetland, roadside, and shrub wetland. It probably has not occupied its entire potential range yet. Not much is known about managing this species.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: High
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Unknown
I-Rank Review Date: 05Jan2004
Evaluator: Killeffer, T.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Eurasia, Africa

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: "Cultivated as an ornamental tree throughout eastern North America . . . it has escaped and become widely naturalized throughout the temperate Northeast" (FNA, 1997).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: This species will grow on lowlying lands (Burns, 1990). Named as a species that escapes into natural areas (EPA, 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: High

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:High significance
Comments: Species provides nitrogen soil enrichment from the leaf litter, roots and nodules. A. glutinosa leaves retain much more nitrogen in the leaves than other species of trees. Root system is both surface and deep taking advantage of water at multiple levels (Burns 1990).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High/Low significance
Comments: Species has the ability to form monospecific stands (IPANE). Not sure of its effect on the other layers or if it can create its own layer.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High significance
Comments: Has the ability to form monospecific stands (IPANE).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:High/Low significance
Comments: Hybridizes readily with many other alders with particularly vigorous hybrids from a cross with A. incana and A. rubra (Burns, 1990). Not known whether this happens in nature or through horticultural experimentation only.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:High significance
Comments: Since this species grows in low-lying wet areas - wetland invasion is of conservation concern.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Kartesz (1999). This species is naturalized in the northeastern U.S. (Burns 1990). "Found from Vermont to Minnesota and south from Tennessee to Nebraska;" "the degree of naturalization, as opposed to its horticultural presence, has not been fully established" (IPANE 2004).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High/Low significance
Comments: Answer based on the fact the species is a nitrogen fixer and can form monospecific stands.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: TNC ecoregions - approx. 20.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: IPANE mentions the following habitats in New England: early successional forest, edge, floodplain forest, forest wetland, roadside, and shrub wetland.

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Unknown

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Hardiness: Zone 3-7 (Univ. of Delaware).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Seeds may occasionally blow across frozen snow but dispersal is primarily by water which is convienent since the trees are typically adjacent to a water source (Burns, 1990 and IPANE). Seeds contain an air bladder and float (Burns 1990). Seeds are a source of food for seed-eating birds (Burns 1990).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Unknown

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:High/Moderate significance
Comments: "Grows naturally on low-lying lands." Can be an opportunistic and pioneer species (Burns 1990). Found colonizing beaches and natural shoreline along the Niagara River. Growing along the river in harsh conditions of the strong current (Eckel 2003).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Escaped in maritime Canada as well (Burns 1990).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Seedlings can survive flooding conditions that would kill off other seedlings. Can tolerate iron concentrations toxic to many plants. Will resprout from stump after cutting or death of the main stem (Burns 1990). Rapidly growing tree (IPANE 2001).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Unknown

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Low significance
Comments: No information available about managing this species but management seems necessary.

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Unknown

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Low significance
Comments: Riparian areas are hard to reach.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Burns, R. M., and B. H. Honkala, eds. 1990. Silvics of North America, vol. 2: Hardwoods. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook 654, Washington, DC. Accessed 2004.

  • Eckel, P. M. 2003. Two problems in Betulaceae along the Niagara River: Alnus glutinosa and Betula cordifolia. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO. Reprinted from Clintonia 18(4): 3-4.

  • Eckel, P.M. 2003. Two problems in Betulaceae along the Niagara River: Alnus glutinosa and Betula cordifolia. Clintonia 18(4): 3-4.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Garwood, A.E. 1986. Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) an introduced tree new for the Kingston Region, eastern Ontario.  The Plant Press 4(2): 55-56.

  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE). 2001. List of species of interest. Available: http://invasives.eeb.uconn.edu/ipane/NPS_list.htm. (Accessed 2004).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.

  • Swink, F., and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

  • University of Delaware Botanic Gardens. No date. College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 113 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 1917-1303. Accessed in 2004.

  • Zenkert, C.A. 1934. Flora of the Niagara Frontier Region. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences Volume 16, Buffalo, New York. x + 328 pp. + map.

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