White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
White Alder
Alnus rhombifolia

The bark and the strobils are a source of tannin[82].

The roots have been used to make baskets[257].

The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder then mixed with flour and water for use as a dye[257]. The colour is not specified[257].

The fresh bark can be chewed and used as a red dye[257].

Wood – light, soft, not strong, brittle, close and straight-grained, very durable in water[82]. It is of limited value as a low-grade lumber, but is used principally for fuel[229].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bark is astringent, diaphoretic, emetic, haemostatic, stomachic and tonic[172, 257]. A decoction of the dried bark is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, haemorrhages in consumption, stomach aches and to facilitate child birth[257]. Externally it can be used as a wash for babies with skin diseases, nappy rash etc[257].

    A poultice of the wood is applied to burns[257].

  • Edible Use

    Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour[172].

    Inner bark[257]. No more information is given, but inner bark is often dried and can be used as a flavouring in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread etc[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The freshly harvested inner bark is emetic but is alright once it has been dried[172].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered[200]. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered[200, K]. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring[78]. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[1, 11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils[11]. Tolerates very infertile sites[200]. A fairly fast-growing but short-lived species, reaching its maximum size in 50 – 60 years[229]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Western N. America – British Columbia to California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.