"The Alders have close and astringent bark, and bear very straight veined, toothed, broad, deciduous, alternate and simple leaves and few scaled or naked buds. The flowers, in unisexual catkins, expand with or before the leaves (in our speicies) but make their first appearance in bud during the preceding season. The male catkins are pendulous, the individual floret with 4-parted calyx and 2 to 4 stamens, subtended by two small bracts. The female flowers, which are borne erect in a conelet, have no calyx, but each ovary is subtended by 2 to 4 minute bracts and surmounted by 2 styles. After fertilization the conelet ripens into a little open cone-like structure (strobile) with woody scales from which are released the seed-like little nuts with thin wing-like borders."
"As slim as young Birches, as cool as broad Beeches, as tall, sometimes, as 60 or even 80 feet high, the Alders form delicious groves, with the tinkling of the streams forever making music."
Donald Culross Peattie: TREES