Cercocarpus montanus Raf.
Alderleaf mountain mahogany, Silverleaf mountain mahogany, Mountain mahogany
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
USDA Symbol: CEMO2
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: 8-20 feet tall.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: 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
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)
Learn more at BAMONA
Adult Food Source
Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak |
Learn more at BAMONA
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
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cercocarpus montanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cercocarpus montanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cercocarpus montanus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-08-08
Research By: TWC Staff