Alder Cones - Any Other Cones?

Andy S

I have found some cones growing on a tree near to me, to all intents and purposes they look like Alder cones but I know from the leaves on the tree that this is not an Alder. I have been unable to identify what tree it is but it is definitely not an Alder.

I collected some anyway and dropped a couple of them into a glass of water to see what would happen and, sure enough, the water took on a yellow/brown tinge and the Ph dropped, exactly as would happen if they were Alder cones.

I'm not quite brave enough to put them in a tank with fish yet but does anybody know why we use Alder cones rather than any other type of cone? Is there something specific about Alder that makes them suitable where cones from other trees would not be?
When you research Indian Almond Leaves you find that some people have been using Oak and Sycamore leaves instead with similar results, I just wonder whether the same is true for Alder cones, would cones from other species be acceptable. Unless Alder has some properties I am unaware of I can see no reason why not, just wondering if anybody has any better ideas?
 

DoubleDutch

pics ?
 

-Mak-

There's a huge range of botanicals that can be used, see tanninaquatics.com for an idea of the variety. I picture would help, but I'm inclined to say that if it's chemical free then it's likely okay.
 

Andy S

There's a huge range of botanicals that can be used, see tanninaquatics.com for an idea of the variety. I picture would help, but I'm inclined to say that if it's chemical free then it's likely okay.
I would love to be able to produce pictures but currently have a problem connecting phone to computer. Suffice it to say that if I were to put these cones side by side with Alder cones bought from Amazon or eBay I defy anybody to tell the difference. The cones I have found are on a tree by the side of the road which probably gets 20 cars a day passing and there is no prospect of any chemicals coming anywhere close by. I might just do it and see what happens. I have a tank containing just zebra danios which I am hoping to breed. They are pretty bulletproof, I might just lob a couple of cones in with them and see what happens. I'll probably start with just a couple and see what that produces then add more if necessary or appropriate.
 

bitseriously

Resident Arborist, checking in!
Why are you so certain that it’s not alder?
Seed design is fairly conservative across families of plants. So there are relatively few plants that have cones like alder, that are not either alder or something closely related to it (birches for example). However, most birches, all being closely related and including alder, have leaves that are at least generally similar to one another. So when you say you’re certain it’s not alder I’m a little puzzled.
 

Andy S

Resident Arborist, checking in!
Why are you so certain that it’s not alder?
Seed design is fairly conservative across families of plants. So there are relatively few plants that have cones like alder, that are not either alder or something closely related to it (birches for example). However, most birches, all being closely related and including alder, have leaves that are at least generally similar to one another. So when you say you’re certain it’s not alder I’m a little puzzled.
The reason I am convinced it is not Alder is because the leaves are nothing like the leaves of Alder or Birch or any other closely related species. The 'leaves' suggest the tree I'm looking at is either a fir or a pine of some sort. Alder and Birch have what I can only describe as 'proper' leaves whereas the tree I am looking at has bunches of long thin needles, approximately 4 inches long yet the cones are identical in appearance to Alder cones.
 

bitseriously

Ah, I see. I think I was being a bit narrow-minded (only thinking of deciduous or broad-leaved trees).
Yes, there are many cone-bearing trees that are not alder, or any of its close relatives in the birch family. However all the these other trees are conifers. Cedars, larches, spruce trees, there are many trees like these with cones, and some of the cones can be small like alder.
I know you've already put some in your tank, but I would recommend against it. The cones contain resinous sap, just like the wood of these trees. If you google variations of using conifers for aquarium driftwood, you'll find plenty of recommendations against it, and I would include the cones in that recommendation.
 

Andy S

Ah, I see. I think I was being a bit narrow-minded (only thinking of deciduous or broad-leaved trees).
Yes, there are many cone-bearing trees that are not alder, or any of its close relatives in the birch family. However all the these other trees are conifers. Cedars, larches, spruce trees, there are many trees like these with cones, and some of the cones can be small like alder.
I know you've already put some in your tank, but I would recommend against it. The cones contain resinous sap, just like the wood of these trees. If you google variations of using conifers for aquarium driftwood, you'll find plenty of recommendations against it, and I would include the cones in that recommendation.
Actually, yours was the very answer I was looking for. No, I haven't put them in my tank yet; all I have done is drop a couple of them into a glass of water to see what effect they had and yes, they do drop the Ph and turn the water brown. I was hoping somebody would come back with a definitive answer, either yes they will be OK or alternatively, No, don't do it. I will take your advice and not add them. I would hate to poison my tank just for the sake of saving a couple of quid. Thank you all very much.
 

bitseriously

No don’t do it.
 

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