Botanical Name

Alnus rubra

Other Common Names

Red Alder, Western Red Alder


Coastal western North America


United States, British Columbia

The Tree

May reach height of 100–130 feet, with diameters of 22-30 inches. Red alder is the most abundant hardwood in the Pacific Northwest region of U.S. It is also a commercially important lumber.


Red alder is almost white when freshly cut but changes to a light tan to reddish brown. The color darkens and reddens with age and when exposed to air.


Grain is generally straight, with moderately fine, uniform texture.

Working Properties

Very easy to work with hands and machine tools and it sands easy. Red Alder is rather soft, and care must be taken to avoid denting in some applications. It has excellent gluing, staining, and finishing properties and it also turns well.


Veneer, plywood, furniture, cabinetry, millwork, pallets, musical instruments, and chip/pulp wood, smoking meats.


Knotty alder is likely to be inexpensive, on par with other domestic woods. While Clear alder may cost a bit more.