Red Alder

RED ALDER | Rooiels | Cunonia Capensis

The Tree

Rooiels does not grow well in very hot and dry or windy conditions, preferring a more temperate climate. It is common in the Southern Cape with abundant populations around Knysna. It may be seen in forests and moist areas, especially along watercourses. It is found along the coast and adjacent inland areas from the Western Cape eastwards to Mozambique. In forests it may reach up to 10m in height but out in the open it may only reach 5m.
The bark is rough and dark in older specimens. Small round pustules (cork patches) are sometimes found on the bark, resembling ostrich skin. The young stems are pinkish red. It bears small white to cream-coloured flowers borne on long, dense spikes.

In forests may reach up to 10m in height

The grain is straight and the texture is fine and even

A versatile interior finish hardwood and utility choice for furniture construction

The Wood

Heartwood is reddish-brown with slightly lighter sapwood. The grain is straight and the texture is fine and even.


The versatile hardwood. For workability, availability, and finishing, Red Alder is a very versatile and predictable material. Works easily and cleanly by hand or machine, planes well and takes all finishes. It can be used alone or together with other species. Alder is a close or fine grained wood similar to cherry, birch and maple.


Alder is a versatile interior finish hardwood, and a stable frame and utility choice for furniture construction. Commonly used for cabinet doors, flooring, window construction, beam wraps, interior doors, trims, and mouldings. Alder is also used for guitar blanks, children’s toy construction, carving and turning.
Historically, it was used for railway sleepers, water wheels and sports equipment.