This time in fascinating facts we explore plantlife with the tenacious alder which lines the riverbanks of Glen Orchy…
1. Humans have harnessed the strength of alder in water for thousands of years. Scotland’s crannogs stan on alder piles, canal builders turned to alder for sluice gates, remains of ancient alder boats are found across Europe, and without alder, there would be no Venice!
2. Planting alders and reintroducing beavers is a winning combination to mitigate against flooding.
3. Alder trees can grow to 30 metres in height, however, in Scotland, height rarely surpasses 20 metres tall. It can live to around 150 years old as well.
4. Alder is one of the woods of choice for solid-body electric guitars such as the Fender Telecaster.
5. Alder bark, cones and twigs have long been used as a source of dyes. Colours include black, brown and green.
You can read Jim Crumley’s Scottish wildlife columns online here, and each month in The Scots Magazine.