Alnus serrulata, the hazel alder or smooth alder, is a thicket-forming shrub in the family Betulaceae. It is native to eastern North America and can be found found from western Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick south to Florida and Texas.
Alnus serrulata is a large shrub or small tree that may grow up to 2.5-4 m (8-12 ft) high and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. The scientific name originates from alnus which is an old name for alder; serrulata points to the finely-toothed leaf margins which it possesses. It takes about 10 yrs to mature. The plant prefers moist soil near streams, pond margins, and riversides. It usually has multiple stems from its base and reddish-green flowers. The broad, flat, dark green leaves are about 2 to 4 inches long.
Leaf: The simple, round leaves are obovate, 2 to 5 in long, 1.2 to 2.8 in wide, obtuse, wider at middle, and V-shaped base. Veins are pinnate and conspicuous. Leaves have a smooth texture above and hairy texture below. The upper side of the leaves are dark green and the undersides are pale green.
Flower: The flowers are monoecious, meaning that both sexes are found on a single plant. Male (Staminate) catkins are 1.6-2.4 in long; female (Pistillate) catkins are 1/2 in long. Reddish-green flowers open in March to April.
Fruit: The ovate, dark brown, cone-like fruit is hard with winged scales. Seeds are produced in small cones and do not have wings. Fruit usually matures during fall and is quite persistent.
Twig: The twigs are reddish-brown and have a 3-angled-pith; young twigs are covered with hairs.
Bark: The bark is brownish gray, smooth, and has a bitter and astringent taste.
A shrub, or rarely small tree forming thickets found natively along watercourses. Nice rich green leaf, velvety beneath, that drop in fall while green. Flowers small white in the form of catkins