Tag Alder is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or small tree found on stream banks and in wet meadows in Eastern North America (Main to Florida; as far west as Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois). Leaves are alternate, elliptical, with serrated margins, deep green turning to yellow tinged with red in the fall. Alder is recognized by its unusual, drooping, yellowish male catkins and red female flower structures in spring and small, woody cones in fall. With its fibrous, shallow root system, Alder is a great choice for stream bank stabilization. Its water use is high, and it fixes its own atmospheric nitrogen, naturally forming thickets along watercourses. However, it also thrives in well drained upland soil where it is often used to improve wildlife habitat. Seeds are eaten by a variety of bird species (Woodcocks, Ruffed grouse), small mammals and rodents. Alders also serve as host plants for beetles, moth and butterfly caterpillars and other insects. Deer browse the leaves and bark. And finally, dense branching habit provides cover and nesting habitat for the American Woodcock, Rusty Grackle, and other birds. It is considered a critical cover component for Woodcock habitat and is an excellent choice for general enrichment of food and cover resources for our native fauna.