Aliso del Cerro

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Aliso del cerro (Alnus rubra pictured)

Common Name(s): Aliso del cerro, Mexican alder

Scientific Name: Alnus jorullensis

Distribution: Found at higher elevations from central Mexico south to Honduras

Tree Size: 65-82 ft (20-25 m) tall,

                      1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 27.5 lbs/ft3 (440 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .39, .44

Janka Hardness: 640 lbf (2,830 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 8,330 lbf/in2 (57.4 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,135,000 lbf/in2 (7.83 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 4,420 lbf/in2 (30.5 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 7.2%,

                        Volumetric: 12.0%, T/R Ratio: 1.7

Color/Appearance: Aliso del cerro tends to be light tan to reddish brown; color darkens and reddens with age. There is no visible distinction between heartwood and sapwood. Large aggregate rays appear as occasional small streaks on the face grain that can be mistaken for defects in the wood. 

Grain/Texture: Grain is generally straight, with a moderately fine, uniform texture.

Rot Resistance: Aliso del cerro is rated non-durable to perishable regarding decay resistance.

Workability: Aliso del cerro is very easy to work with both hand and machine tools; it sands especially easy. The wood is rather soft, however, and care must be taken to avoid denting it in some applications. Turns, glues, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, species in the Alnus genus has been reported to cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: No data available.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.

Common Uses: General construction, furniture, cabinetry, millwork, pallets, shoe heels, and carving.

Comments: Aliso del cerro, which is Spanish for hill alder, is also known by the English name Mexican alder. The species is sometimes planted as an ornamental tree. 

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood. There are currently no pictures of this exact wood species, but a similar species within the Alnus genus is being substituted red alder (A. rubra). If you’d like to contribute a wood sample for this webpage, please see the contact form for donating wood samples.

Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Red alder (endgrain 10x)
Red alder (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous

Arrangement: mainly radial multiples of two to four pores

Vessels: medium, numerous

Parenchyma: generally not visible

Rays: both narrow and very wide aggregate rays present; wide spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: The wood of black cherry (Prunus serotina) bears a superficial resemblance to aliso del cerro, and also has an overlapping range extending down to southern Mexico. However, black cherry will lack aggregate rays and have a semi-ring-porous pore arrangement with gradually decreasing pore size in the latewood sections.

Notes: The endgrain images are from the related Alnus rubra. The images are meant to give a general sense of the species’ anatomy, but it may not be a completely accurate representation of the intended species. Particularly, A. rubra tends to have more extensive parenchyma that’s diffuse-in-aggregates, while A. jorullensis usually lacks visible parenchyma.

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