|'Alder' 18x18" oil pastel; Kathleen Faulkner|
Ah, yes, the 'mighty' alder. It's another bit of nature that is under appreciated.
Alder's favorite place to live is in the Cascade Mountains. We are very lucky because, without this tree, erosion happens. After a fire, Alder is the first on the scene using it's roots to stabilize river banks and mountain sides while also providing shade protection for evergreen seedlings.
Another excellent attribute of the Alder is it's nitrogen-fixing nodules that are located on it's roots. These nodules improve soil fertility and make it a perfect solution for reclaiming degraded soils and industrial wastelands.
The indians used alder to make canoes since the wood will never rot in water: as a matter of fact, water preserves alder wood whereas air eventually rots it. Different parts of the tree have been used to make dye, health remedies and many other things.
When the whitish wood is cut, it turns red as if it's bleeding. I always wonder what the world of a tree is like from a tree's perspective.