Alder’s Little Helpers

Speckled Alder is the shrub with small cones and name-giving pale lenticels on its trunk. Its roots contain orange nodules full of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that transform atmospheric nitrogen, unusable by plants, into ammonia, a form they can use. This allows alders to grow in wet, nitrogen-poor habitats. Alders repay the bacteria with sugars they manufacture.

Here one of the largest plants in the Nopiming grows next to the smallest. Silver Maples tower above a green carpet of minute Duckweed floating on the water’s surface. Duckweed is one of the world’s smallest flowering plants. Wood Ducks and Mallards reportedly do eat Duckweed!