Belonging to the same family as the Birch trees, the Alder (Alnus glutinosa) is familiar to most of us as a tree of wet and boggy places. Like the Hazel which I mentioned a few days ago, the Alder reproduces by means of long male catkins and small, red female flowers. The catkins are by far the most prominent feature at this time of year.
Alder wood is resistant to decay in water and as such, has been used in antiquity to make water pipes, boats and a whole range of other 'water-based' uses. The branches also used to be cut off and stored in people's wardrobes as it is irresistible to woodworm and so used to lure them away from your best mahogany furniture.