Italian Alder (Alnus cordata)

Italian Alder (Alnus cordata) is a medium sized deciduous tree, reaching heights up to 25 metres. It is native to parts of Italy but has been introduced and naturalised in other parts of Europe including the UK.

  • Italian Alder  -  Alnus Cordata  -  Mature Tree
  • Italian Alder  -  Alnus Cordata  -  Leaves
  • Italian Alder  -  Alnus Cordata  -  Catkins

Useful info about Italian Alder trees

Latin NameAlnus cordata
TypeDeciduous (loses its leaves in winter)
HeightCan grow up to 25 metres (80 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 4 - 8 metres (13 - 26 feet)
Soil Types PreferredChalk, Clay, Loam
Locations SuitableFarmland, Gardens, Parks
FlowersCatkins in spring
FruitSeeds in autumn
Celtic Tree MonthMarch 18 - April 14

Similar Species


Italian Alder leaves are deciduous but with a very long season in leaf, from April to December in the Northern Hemisphere.

They are alternate, cordate (heart-shaped), rich glossy green, 5–12 cm long, with a finely serrated margin.

The slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish and up to 10 cm long. Pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge.

The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn 2–3 cm long and 1.5–2 cm wide. They are dark green to brown, hard, woody, and superficially similar to some conifer cones. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish 'cones' on the tree for up to a year after.

It thrives on much drier soils than most other alders, and grows rapidly even under very unfavourable circumstances, which renders it extremely valuable for landscape planting on difficult sites such as mining spoil heaps and heavily compacted urban sites.


Italian Alder produces valuable reddish-orange wood. It breaks down rapidly when exposed to air, but is durable when immersed in water. The timber is used for turning and carving, for moulding, furniture, panelling and plywood.

It is commonly grown as a windbreak.

Like other alders, it is able to improve soil fertility fixing nitrogen into the soil with the bacteria Actinomyces alni (Frankia alni).


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

The Italian Alder tree is believed to represent strength, protection and determination.

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