American Univesity of Beirut

Oriental Alder

Alnus orientalis, نغت أو جار الماء

Altitude: 0-1000 m
Month of Collection: January

Delivery of Orders:

  • Small trees for reforestation: $5/tree (Sept - Oct)
  • Medium-sized trees for landscaping: $25/tree (any time)
    • For more information about the tree, (Click here).​
The Oriental Alder grows near streams and water bodies, hence its common Arabic name, meaning water neighbor. It is a large tree that can grow up to 25 meters high. Its leaves are oval, broadly toothed at the edges, and pointed at the tip. The tree changes appearance with the seasons, as it sheds its leaves, which turn brownish-yellow in autumn, during the first strong winter storms. If you visit Lebanon’s rivers between December and February, you will see the leafless branches of the Oriental Alder tipped with elongated, soft, rope-like structures that reach up to 30 centimeters in length. These structures, which look as if they have been attached to decorate the tree, are the male reproductive organs. They are made up of clusters of male flowers, which constitute one of the earliest sources of pollen for bees. In the spring, small, green, miniature cone-like female structures start forming. The following autumn, these slowly open, and around December, they shed their seeds, after which they turn dark brown and woody.

Natural Oriental Alder populations can be found along the Damour and Nahr Ibrahim rivers. In the high altitude of Nabaa’ El Safa, near the water falls, one of the largest trees can be seen, with a trunk that is more than a meter in diameter and a canopy that covers an area about 30 meters in diameter. The Oriental Alder contributes to the ecological integrity of rivers; it is among the few tree species that enrich the soil, because it has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air and incorporate it into the soil. It is also relatively fast-growing and can do well even in harshly damaged sites, such as burnt or quarried areas. This makes the Oriental Alder a perfect choice for restoration near rivers and water bodies, especially because the tree becomes an excellent food source for bees and a home for local bird species.

  • This text is an exerpt from the book Trees of Lebanon©, which includes additional information on how to grow and care for the described tree.

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