Alnus viridis (Chaix) DC.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Alnus viridis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-10-17.


Common Names

  • Green Alder


  • Betula viridis Chaix
  • A. alnobetula K. Koch


Narrowing gradually to a point.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Situated in an axil.
(of a plant or an animal) Found in a native state only within a defined region or country.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Alnus viridis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-10-17.

A shrub 3 to 10 ft high, forming a cluster of erect stems; young branchlets viscid and usually glabrous. Leaves viscid, ovate, or roundish oval, 1 to 312 in. long, 58 to 3 in. wide, unevenly and sharply toothed, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, mostly abruptly pointed; dark green and glabrous above, green and downy on the midrib and veins beneath; stalk about 13 in. long. Male catkins opening in April and May with the leaves, 2 to 3 in. long. Fruits 58 in. long, oval, slender-stalked, borne in loose racemes.

Native of the mountains of Central and S.E. Europe; introduced in 1820. The leaves are variable in the degree of hairiness, and forms markedly downy on both sides at maturity are named f. mollis (Beck) Hegi. Several varieties have been distinguished, based on form and size of leaf etc., of which one of the most distinct is:

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

Furlow accepts the judgement that A. crispa (page 284) should be regarded as a subspecies of A. viridis. It has a wide distribution in the northerly parts of North America, while A. viridis subsp. sinuata (see A. sinuata, page 282) is confined to the Pacific region from Alaska southwards and also occurs in parts of adjacent Siberia.

In central Europe A. viridis is a variable species, and numerous varieties and forms have been described, of which var. pumila is only one. More distinct is:

† subsp. suaveolens (Requien) P. W. Ball A. suaveolens Requien – Leaves orbicular or nearly so, rounded or slightly acuminate at the apex, glabrous beneath except for axillary tufts. An endemic of Corsica. In cultivation at Kew.

var. pumila Cesati

A. viridis var. brembana (Rota) Callier
A. brembana Rota
A. v. var. parvifolia Reg

A curiously dwarfed mountain state of A. viridis, growing 1 or 2 ft high, and forming little close mounds. Adult plants have leaves {1/2} to 1 in. long. This dwarfed condition, however, is merely due to the climate under which it exists. A plant introduced to Kew gradually lost its dwarf character and after twenty years was no longer distinguishable from ordinary A. viridis. Found on the Swiss Alps etc.An alder very similar to A. viridis is found in North America. By some botanists it is included in that species and by others recognised as of specific rank under the name A. crispa (Ait.) Pursh. In Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 382, the late Dr Turrill points out that there is no constant and reliable character by which the American plants may be distinguished from the European, but on the average they differ in their larger leaves on longer petioles and their larger fruits (strobiles). He considered that they should rank as a subspecies of A. viridis (subsp. crispa (Ait.) Turrill). The American green alder was first introduced in 1782. Both it and the European green alder are hardy and vigorous shrubs, of no special ornamental value, but useful for furnishing cold, damp spots.The Siberian green alder – A. fruticosa Rupr. – is also closely allied to A. viridis, and scarcely to be differentiated from it.