Photo Kristel Vilbaste
Alder; Grey alder Hall lepp or valge lepp Alnus incana
The male catkins of the alder foretold our ancestors a plentiful grain harvest but the darkened seed holders or ”alder cones” on springtime trees which were empty of seeds since long – hunger catkins, they carried the sign of a dearth year.
A saying as proof: alder catkins – bread catkins, birch catkins – barley catkins, aspen catkins – oat catkins, alder cones – hunger cones.
Signs of a good grain harvest were to be seen everywhere in nature. The grey alder is our fastest growing tree species, spreading abundantly in fields, pastures and meadows in the last decade of the previous century. In addition aspens, silver birches, goat willows grow in a naturally established type of forest, but also oaks, maples and bird cherries. Without human interference we will notice at some point in time how spruces start taking over. The soil under alders is fertile and actually the forest grows amazingly rapidly.