This is the kind of stuff I envisioned back when the blog got underway--that is, revisiting species as they progress through the seasons. Back in March, we first looked at Smooth Alder when I found some old and tiny cones. I recently discovered fresh cones! Now how cool is that? :-)
I don't know why one set of cones is clean and the other has all those flowery remnants but I suspect at some time I'll find out.
From American Forest Trees:
The alders are old inhabitants of the earth. They had a place in the Eocene and Miocene forests of the old world and new. It is not apparent that they have either gained or lost in extent of range during the hundreds of thousands of years which measure their tenancy on the earth. They have not been aggressive in pushing their way, nor have they shown a disposition to retire before the aggression of other trees. Some alders bear seeds equipped with wings for wind distribution, others produce wingless seeds which depend on water to bear them to suitable situations and plant them. Of course, the water-borne seeds are planted on muddy shores or on the banks of running streams, and the trees of those species are confined to such situations. The alders belong to the birch family.
Gibson, Henry H. American Forest Trees. Chicago, 1913. 589. Web. Google Book Search. 21 Jul 2009.