Red alder is the largest species of alder in North America and one of the largest in the world, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m (66 to 98 ft). The official tallest red alder (1979) stands 32 m (105 ft) tall in Clatsop County, Oregon (US). The name derives from the bright rusty red color that develops in bruised or scraped bark. The bark is mottled, ashy-gray and smooth, often colonized by white lichen and moss. The leaves are ovate, 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) long, with bluntly serrated edges and a distinct point at the end; the leaf margin is revolute, the very edge being curled under, a diagnostic character which distinguishes it from all other alders. The leaves turn yellow in the autumn before falling. The male flowers are dangling reddish catkins 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) long in early spring. Female flowers occur in clusters of (3) 4–6 (8). Female catkins are erect during anthesis, but otherwise pendant. They develop into small, woody, superficially cone-like oval dry fruit 2 to 3 cm (0.79 to 1.18 in) long. The seeds develop between the woody bracts of the 'cones' and are shed in late autumn and winter. Red alder seeds have a membranous winged margin that allows long-distance dispersal.