Although usually found as shrubs, the Smooth Alder sometimes grows to tree size, especially along streams. The smooth bark is dark gray or brown in color. Young twigs are covered with rust-colored hairs. As with other alders this species grows in moist soils, usually forming clumps or thickets. The Smooth Alder is native to eastern Canada and the eastern United States. In Ohio it is found mainly in the eastern half of the state, the Allegheny Plateau area. In her book on Ohio's woody plants, Lucy Braun reported "a single small clump on a wooded stream-bank" in Hamilton County. Deer sometimes eat the twigs of this woody plant.