Keystone Value: The genus Alnus (Alder) supports over 200 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars, providing food for a variety of birds and mammals.
Tag alder is a multi-stemmed large shrub, which does great if planted in a moist, mucky spot. In the wild they grow in bogs, ditches, wetlands, and swamps, typically reaching 10-20′ in height. In spring they develop attractive drooping catkins, which give way to small cones, which are desirable to birds. Tolerates poor soils and can even fix nitrogen. Alders are attractive and functional shrubs with high wildlife value, which tend to be under-utilized in gardens. They provide cover to small mammals, which also eat the twigs and foliage, and various birds such as goldfinches and redpolls eat the seeds, buds, and catkins.