A deciduous tree up to 65 ft high, with a trunk 6 ft in girth; young shoots hairy at first; winter buds egg-shaped, viscid, downy, purplish. Leaves broadly ovate, rounded to broadly wedge-shaped at the base, the apex shortly and slenderly pointed; shallowly lobed and doubly toothed; 21⁄2 to 5 in. long, nearly as much wide; dark dull green and slightly downy above, glaucous and clothed more or less with reddish-brown down beneath, especially on the midrib and on the nine to twelve pairs of veins; stalk 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Fruits (strobiles) 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄2 in. wide, borne in clusters of two to six – usually three or four – on a main-stalk 13⁄4 in. long, individual fruit-stalks very short.
Native of Japan and Manchuria; originally introduced to the Coombe Wood nursery by Maries about 1879, and by Sargent from Japan in 1892. He found it in Hokkaido in moist ground, but usually at some distance from the banks of streams. This tree is related to A. incana more nearly than to any other alder, but is well distinguished by its larger leaves of rounder shape, and by its much larger fruits. It is a vigorous and handsome tree, sometimes found in gardens under the name “A. incana hirsuta”. There is an example in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden measuring 46 × 4 ft (1968).
var. sibirica (Spach) Schneid. A. incana var. sibirtca Spach – This variety is distinguished by its young shoots being glabrous or near so, and the leaves downy only on the midrib and the veins beneath. In spite of its name, this variety occurs in Japan together with the type, as well as in continental N.E. Asia. There is a vigorous specimen in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, planted in 1930, measuring 46 × 43⁄4 ft (1968).
A. matsumurae Callier – A small tree, closely allied to the former, best distinguished by its leaves, which are obovate to orbicular, truncate or deeply notched at the apex, and almost glabrous beneath. Native of Japan. There is an example at Kew, planted in 1928, measuring 55 × 43⁄4 ft (1965).