Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany

Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)

Curlleaf Mountain-


(Cercocarpus ledifolius)


Family: Rosaceae or Rose

Leaves: Alternate, with several borne on short spur-shoots; simple; lanceolate; 1/2" to 1" long; evergreen, leaves persistent for two years; margin entire and edges are rolled under; leathery; shiny dark green above, paler and finely hairy beneath; petiole short.

Twigs/buds: Twigs stout; stiff; early-on pubescent and red-brown; becoming glabrous and brown or silvery; with short spur-shoots that hold leaves and flowers. Buds small, scaly, and hairy.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers are small and inconspicuous, with no petals; solitary or in 2's or 3's. Fruit is a 1/4" long, dry achene with a 2" to 3" long, hairy, corkscrew-twisted tail or plume attached (a persistent style from the flower).

Bark: Thick; red-brown; very firm; furrowed.

Wood: Unimportant and little known; heartwood dark red-brown; hard and dense; makes good firewood; diffuse-porous.

General: Native to much of the interior western U.S., including most of Utah, where it is found in higher, open mountain locations. Shrubby, but can get quite large, with a broad, rounded crown. Long-lived and slow-growing, probably needing fire or disturbance to regenerate naturally from seed. An important species for wildlife. Shade intolerant.

Landscape Use: Mountain-mahoganies are rarely used in cultivate landscapes, but could be used more. Availability would be mostly as seedlings through conservation nurseries or those specializing in native plants. They are fairly drought resistant and tough, and are potentially good choices for xeriscapes. Fruit is very interesting. Zones 3(2?)-8.

Comments & Limitations:

- Evergreen broadleaf (retains its leaves for more than one year).

Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany leaves
Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany seeds
Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany crown
Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany leaves
Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany landscape
  Leaves   Landscape