This common deciduous tree is often found along roadsides and old clearcuts. Its male (staminate) flowers hang in distinctive tassel-like catkins, and the female flowers look like tiny pinecones.
The ethnobotanical uses of Red alder are very interesting. The layers of bark provide different colors of dye, from red to brown to orange. The inner bark has also been ground up and used as a soup thickener and the roots have been used to make baskets.