grey alder tree

Above: the grey alder
was felled but is
resurfacing as a coppice,

Below: the same tree
in happier times, beside
St Giles' church, Cripplegate.

grey alder tree

Trees of London
London Wall, Barbican

Alder grey

previous page      next tree: foxglove

              The grey alder outside St Giles', Cripplegate, was felled in 2010, but it is very difficult to completely destroy a tree, and it is re-emerging as a coppice. Coppicing completely changes the look of a tree, and initially it becomes bush like. However, if left for many many years each shoot can grow into a tree in its own right. This is unlikely to be allowed to happen here, though.

              Like the common alder, the grey alder needs to have damp soil to grow, and for this reason it is usually found beside ponds, streams or rivers. It follows from this that there are not many examples in central London. The Italian alder is much more common because it can survive away from water. The Italian alder shares many features with the grey alder: cones, catkins and a similarly shaped leaf.

St Giles' beside a pond,
which suits the grey alder.

St Giles' church

previous page      next tree

Other Trees at Barbican

Barbican Index

Tree Identification

Alnus incana:

Remember to click on images.

alternate; veins: alternate; oval, rounded at the end but slightly pointed.

grey alder leaf
grey alder cone

small cones.

grey alder catkins

male and female catkins.

grey alder bark bark:
slightly rough; grey
grows to 25 metres; conical, Christmas tree shaped.
general: more adaptable to non-watery ground than the common alder but, all the same, rare in London.

Barbican Map

To the south side of St Giles' Church.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©