Alder belongs to the same family as Birch (Betulaceae). It grows quickly and is short lived – rarely grows to more than 20 metres or lives longer than 150 years. It fixes nitrogen and generally improves the soil. Wood (from coppiced Alder trees) was used for clog making at one time and is said to be good for charcoal making.
Alder is generally found along banks of streams and on damp ground. It is rare to find alder growing on good dry soil.
The bark, when sanded, is deep brown but, if stripped, the heartwood is slightly yellow in colour.
Because it is not prone to splitting, is extremely water resistant and is very light it is often used for stickmaking.