Just the green alder leaves, blowing in the wind, in the morning after a rainy night. Alder leaves and sometimes catkins are used as food by numerous butterflies and moths. With a few exceptions, alders are deciduous, and the leaves are alternate, simple, and serrated. The flowers are catkins with elongate male catkins on the same plant as shorter female catkins, often before leaves appear; they are mainly wind-pollinated, but also visited by bees to a small extent. These trees differ from the birches in that the female catkins are woody and do not disintegrate at maturity, opening to release the seeds in a similar manner to many conifer cones.
The largest species are red alder on the west coast of North America, and black alder, native to most of Europe and widely introduced elsewhere, both reaching over 30 m.
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