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Related to smooth alder: Alnus maritima
Toothed, wavy-edged leaves. Branch bark most commonly used partfor purifying blood, malaria, syphilis, diarrhea, detoxing, skin conditions, rash, hemorrhoids, coughs, mouth problems. In Birch family, even though there is no resemblance, but like birch, alder bark contains the anti-inflammatory salicin, which turns into salicylic acid in our body (nature's "aspirin" for pain relief and headaches). Native cultures used red alder bark to treat poison oak, inset bites, skin problems, lymphatic issues and tuberculosis. Red Alder contains betulin and lupeol, which have been shown to be effective against tumors. Male trees have long tubular flower "catkins", female flowers are shorter and do no disintegrate after maturity. The sausage-shaped catkins are edible. They don't taste very good but are a great source of protein. Alder trees improve surrounding soil nutrition and fertility because they grow nitrogen-fixing bacteria on their roots. This bacteria can grow into nodes as big as apples. It's purpose is to absorb nitrogen from the air and release it into the tree. The tree feeds the bacteria with it's natural sugars. This makes the tree a wonderful soil preparation device for future generations of plants n the area.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz