Alder can come clear or knotty. It is known its smooth and fairly straight grain characteristics in kitchen cabinets. It is commonly mistaken for Cherry wood as Alder and Cherry have similar coloring and graining. The difference between Alder and Cherry is that Alder is a softer wood than Cherry, although still considered a hardwood.
Knotty Alder is desired for its distinct bark patches, pitch pockets, split knots, and other “blemishes”. Knotty Alder makes a wonderful rustic, warm and informal appearance. Both Knotty Alder and Clear Alder can come in variety of stains and slightly darken over time. Alder that is placed in direct sunlight will turn a shade lighter, as sunlight “bleaches” the wood.