Alder is the earliest and latest
It seems that this spring is still far away, snow is lying on the fields, and the alder has already blossomed. Its flowers are inconspicuous, but the whole tree is completely pleasing to the eye - spring is approaching.
Only after flowering the alder leaves bloom. Having stood green until late autumn, the alder does not turn yellow, the leaves do not fall until frost hit.
© Yasunori Koide
The gray alder has grayish, pointed leaves at the end, the trunk is also light gray, it grows in moist forests and is not found south of Moscow. Black alder with shiny, green sticky leaves is an ordinary tree in the European part of our country and Siberia. Both species are most often found in moist lowlands, along the banks of rivers and lakes. "Alnus" - the generic name of an alder - came from the Celtic words Al (pri) and Lan (coast). Black alder is a loner; next to it you will not see trees of other species. Alder grows very quickly, gray reaches 12 -16 meters, and black can grow up to 20 meters in height. But this tree does not differ in durability: on average, lives 100 years, the age limit is 150 years. The alder has a very wide branching root system, so it can be used to secure rivers and ravines.
© Sten Porse
Alder wood is orange-red in color, but after it dries, it becomes light brown. It is soft, brittle, light, therefore it is used in plywood and furniture production, in carpentry, as it is easily processed. But in the damp earth or under water it becomes strong, persists for a long time, therefore it is good for underwater buildings and well log cabins.
In Sweden, there was a belief that all the noble families originated from trees. So, a clan by the name of Almen considered alder as his ancestor. Therefore, all alder trees for people of this genus were the closest relatives and even doubles. Folklore of many peoples speaks of double trees: each person has a double tree. If a person cuts his double, then the tree will start to bleed and speak humanly. But the felled one will possess miraculous power. A table made of such a tree, without any self-assembled tablecloth, will always be full of food. If you make skis out of him, they will instantly transfer the owner to where he needs to.
In many European folklore, legends are known that a tree grows on the grave of an innocently killed person, and a pipe made of it will tell about the killer. And Armenian fairy tales tell of the times when trees walked, talked, ate and drank.
Remember these legends if you have to chop a tree, especially a nondescript alder, the first harbinger of spring. Suddenly she would beg for mercy in a human voice?
© Sten Porse