Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of Paul Alaback.

Curl-leaf mountain mahogany

Scientific name
Cercocarpus ledifolius
Also Known As
Mountain mahogany
Plant Family
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany is a large woody shrub found in open, semi-arid habitats in the West. Leaves are dark green and shiny with curled margins.
Identification Hints

Curl-leaf mountain mahogany is a large woody shrub found in open, semi-arid habitats in the West. Leaves are dark green and shiny with curled margins.

Did You Know?

The wood of curl-leaf mountain mahogany is extremely hard and so dense that it won't float in water. It makes an excellent fuel, giving off an intense heat while burning for a long time. It is occasionally used in the manufacture of small articles for domestic and industrial use.

Leaves
The leaves are evergreen and alternate along the stem. They are commonly clustered on spur shoots off of the branches. The leaves are small (0.5 to 1 in or 1 to 3 cm long) and narrowly elliptical, thick and leathery, with no teeth, rolled edges, and are green above and below.
Flowers
The flowers are small, inconspicuous, trumpet-shaped, and fuzzy, usually at axils of the branches or twigs, with no petals or sepals. Flowers bloom in early spring.
Fruits
Small achene (hard, seed-like structure) with long hairy and often twisted plume, up to 1 in (3 cm) long that turns yellow-brown when mature.
Bark
The bark is reddish to grayish-brown with deep, wide furrows and ridges that may break into plate-like scales.
Habitat
High altitude desert or dry grassland areas; dry, rocky slopes; 4,000 to 10,000 ft (1200 to 3050 m).
States
AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY