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Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Smooth mountain mahogany)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Cercocarpus montanus Raf. var. glaber (S. Watson) F.L. Martin

Smooth Mountain Mahogany, Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany, True Mountain Mahogany, Hard Tack

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Cercocarpus betuloides, Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides, Cercocarpus betuloides var. multiflorus

USDA Symbol: cemog

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Hard tack, a variable, open shrub or small tree, usually grows from 8-20 ft. tall. Twigs may be stiff and erect or graceful and spreading. Bark is smooth gray. Birch-like, semi-evergreen to evergreen leaves are dark green, and inconspicuous flowers are followed by feathery seedheads that turn the plant silver in fall.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 25 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AZ , CA , OR , TX
Native Distribution: S.w. OR to Baja CA, e. to AZ. Disjunct populations in W. TX.
Native Habitat: Dry slopes & washes below 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Rocky, clay, or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Nitrogen-fixing and good for revegetation and erosion control. Drought-tolerant. Volunteer seedlings can be expected when well-established.


Description: Propagation is possible with untreated seed.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds as soon as the fruits are dry. This is usually indicated by a white aspect to the fruiting branches. Avoid exposure of skin to the hairy, white styles.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber


Record Modified: 2022-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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