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Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Cercocarpus montanus Raf.
Alderleaf mountain mahogany, Alder-leaf mountain-mahogany, Mountain mahogany, Silverleaf mountain mahogany
USDA Symbol: cemo2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Alder-leaf Mountain Mahogany is an 8-20 ft. shrub or small tree with very attractive, almost-evergreen leaves - dark green on top and fuzzy silver underneath. Non-showy flowers are followed by feathery, silvery-white fruits, occuring from May to November.
Variety glaber is known by the common names Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany and Hardtack, among others. It is a common shrub in chaparral vegetation, sprouting after fire. It is also an important browse plant for deer, cattle, and sheep. The common and scientific names both refer to the resemblance of the leaves to those of shrubby birches. It is called Hardtack perhaps from its ability to withstand cutting, fire, drought, and heavy browsing. Cercocarpus, from the Greek words for tail and fruit, describes the hairy tails or plumes from the elongated flower style. These hairy fruits are carried long distances by the wind; animals harbor them in their fur, also aiding dispersal. After falling to the ground, the oddly shaped fruits twist into the soil.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
8-20 feet tall.
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
AZ , CA , CO , ID , KS , MT , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WY Native Distribution:
S.w. OR to Baja CA, & in the Rockies & Great Basin from Treasure Co., MT & SD to Mex. Native Habitat:
Rocky hillsides; cliffs; open woods; mesas USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Well-drained soils. Conditions Comments:
Alder-leaf mountain-mahogany is a shrub
or small tree
with very attractive, almost-evergreen leaves - dark green on top and fuzzy silver underneath. Non-showy flowers are followed by feathery, silvery-white fruits, occuring from May to November. It fixes nitrogen and is good for revegetation and erosion control. It tolerates both hot/dry and cooler/shadier sites, and is pH adaptable. Found mostly in the Texas panhandle.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Because this is a favorite deer browse, it seldom, in nature, achieves a tree-like form.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationDescription: Slow-growing from seeds; sow in cool soil. Heel cutting from summer wood may root.
Seed Treatment: Deplumed seeds should be soaked in water for thirty minutes before sowing. Stratification may then be necessary for 30 days at 41 degrees. Some sources recommend scarification for 10-20 minutes in concentrated sulfuric acid followed by 5-10 minutes of r
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Privacy hedge for South Dakota
August 08, 2008
Hi, I'm looking for something to use as a hedge. 8 foot or so tall offering semi privacy all year. I like dogwoods but loss of leaves in the winter makes me skeptical. Boxwood would be interesting...
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From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2010-05-01
Research By: TWC Staff