Botanical name: Ain us glutin osa

Common names: Aides Common aides black aides European alder


  • Native tree. Mature tree can reach up to 20m in height. Dark bark. Young twigs sticky to touch.
  • Leaves: racquet-shaped and leathery with serrated edges.
  • Flowers: on catkins (February-April). Both females and male flowers found in the same tree. Male catkins yellow and pendulous (2-6cm). Clusters of 3-8 green oval female catkins on each stalk
  • Fruits: Female catkins become woody and appear as small cone-like fruits in winter and stay on the tree all year around.
  • Alder improves soil fertility: Symbiotic relationship with a nitrogen-fixing bacterium in root noodles. The bacterium absorbs nitrogen from the aii; making it available to the tree.
  • Green dye from flowers used to colour and camouflage clothes of outlaws like Robin Hood. It was also thought to be the colour fairies’ clothes.
  • Wood used in construction

Dying Properties

  • Colour: Soft browns, pinks: mid-autumn-spring; with iron mordant: pale grey
  • Parts used/ForagingSeason: mini pinecones. All year


Smallholding: Next to pond. Front garden of the museum