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A tall tree, said to become 100 ft high in its native place, with a trunk 10 to 15 ft in girth; bark of trunk blackish and ultimately scaling; young twigs with a little loose down at first, soon quite glabrous. Leaves thin-textured, ovate to oval, 3 to 6 in. long, 2 to 3 in. wide, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, slender-pointed, coarsely toothed to almost entire; shining-green above, pale beneath, and glabrous except for tufts of down in the vein-axils; stalks 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, slightly downy. The male catkins open in September, and are produced as many as five together in a raceme, each catkin 4 to 6 in. long, 1⁄4 in. in diameter, and pendulous. Fruits three to five together, erect, oblong, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long.
Native of the N.W. Himalaya; introduced to Kew in 1882 through seed sent by R. E. Ellis. The trees then raised succeeded well but eventually died of some form of bacterial decay. A young tree planted in 1952 is now 30 ft high and growing well. Trees at the Forestry Commission’s research station at Alice Holt, near Farnham, were planted at about the same time and have reached about the same height. It is at once distinguished from all other alders except maritima and nepalensis by flowering in autumn. The quadrangular scales on the bark are not developed on young trees.
There are two specimens of this rare species at Whitfield House, Herefordshire, measuring 74 × 31⁄2 ft and 65 × 5 ft (1984).