Species Of The Week Number 16: Alder

Following on from Hazel in Week 15, the other common catkin to be seen at this time of year is on Alder - the tree of river banks and pond edges. We have quite a few along Meanwood Beck although I'm not sure if any still grow on the eponymous Alder Hill Avenue in Meanwood.

Look out for the long purple male catkins, alongside smaller bud-like female catkins. The small alder cones are also often visible right through the winter.

If you want to know more about Alder first you have to imagine a clog-wearing electric guitarist serenading you on the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Bear with me on this.

Her guitar is a Fender. Nearly all Fenders since 1956 has been made from Alder. According to Fender "Alder boasts many sonic advantages. Not especially dense, it’s a lightweight, closed-pore wood that has a resonant, balanced tone brighter than other hardwoods, with a little more emphasis in the upper midrange. It imparts excellent sustain and sharp attack. It’s very easy to work with and it glues well".

The clogs on her feet are also made of Alder as was the case with clogs throughout the industrial revolution - and they are really comfortable. Alder is reasonably soft and in time will become moulded into the shape of the wearers feet.

Finally the Rialto Bridge itself. Its base is made of Alder too. Alder is unusual in that exposure to water makes it harder, and it doesn't rot. The bridge has been standing on the same Alderwood foundations for at least 1000 years. Pretty impressive I reckon.

Publicado el 11 de enero de 2023 por clunym clunym


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