Alder

Wild and cultivated tree, medium size, widely distributed in the Andean highlands and eastern slopes, near water sources. This tree gives a soft white wood highly prized for the manufacture of rustic furniture. It also has medicinal properties and acts against the fever, bleeding, flu, such as healing and anti-rheumatic. Alder bark yields a brown dye, which was used in the dyeing of the pre-Hispanic textiles.

Scientific name: Alnus acuminata Family: Betulácea

Common names: Aliso Huayau, Lambros, ramram in Quechua

Botanical Description: The Alder is a tree growing medium to large. It has alternate leaves, pointed with finely serrated edges. Its inflorescence is long and gives a cone-shaped fruit with scales and winged seeds. The alder wood is white and soft.

Ecological level: The alder is distributed in the Andean highlands and eastern slopes between 1,000 to 3,300 masl in ravines and near water.

Historical Background: The alder trees is one of the most popular and common throughout the Andean region. It was cultivated in pre-Hispanic times. In the textile art of cultures Ancon, Chancay, Inca, Nazca, Tiahuanaco and Wari, have been observed brown fibers, dyed with alder leaves and bark. The ancient Peruvians also used the wood of this tree for making long beams used in construction of houses. And in popular medicine for the treatment of rheumatic diseases, inflammation and wound infections.

Quote from reporter: "Alder is the tree that is wider in all provinces of Peru, which originates in the temperate valleys of the highlands, whose wood is spent that much on all the buildings in the city of Cuzco and other places where woods are not achieved stronger ... "Cobo (VI, 2)

Uses: The Alder wood is used as to make rustic furniture, boxes, yokes, etc. shoe lasts. also as firewood and charcoal, also tinged with yellow bark and tannin content is used for tanning. It is also nitrogen-fixing soil and protect the river banks and irrigation canals.

Dyed with alder How? Color: Brown (bark), green or yellow (young leaves). Material: 3 kg of well-cut alder leaves and crushed. Dyeing: Prepare the wool with 150 g of alum (15%) in water. Browse the leaves in a pot of water with alum. Boil for one hour. Strain and cool the dye. Pour the wet wool prepared with alum and boil half an hour, moving well. Rinse until water runs clear. This leaves yellow. Color Development: To bring out the dark green wool dye, add a little iron sulphate, boil again for half an hour and wash well. (Encyclopedic Dictionary of Useful Plants of Peru - Antonio Brack).

Status of species: This species is found in the wild and cultivated also provides many benefits such as its timber and its dyeing properties. Almost all the Andean forest species are under pressure due to logging for centuries. The alder deserves special attention by the many benefits it offers. Reforestation with native species of the Andes is a necessary task.