Colorado Plant Database

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MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY - Cercocarpus montanus

Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Nature Center,

Meaning: Navajo name means "as heavy as stone."
Other Common Names: alderleaf mountain mahogany
Scientific Name: Cercocarpus montanus
Derivation: cercocarpus - tailed fruit.
Family: Rose - Rosaceae
Species Characteristics: leaves densely pubescent (hairy) underneath.
Mature Height: to 8 feet.
Mature Spread: 4 to 6 feet.
Flower Color: yellowish
Flower Symmetry: radial
Fruit Color: brown
Fruit Type: achene (small, dry, indehiscent - does not open upon maturity - fruit with a thin close-fitting wall surrounding a single seed) with elongated style.
Leaf Type: simple (not divided into similar parts), dentate (toothed).
Leaf/Leaflet Shape: simple, dentate (toothed).
Origin: native
Frequency: common
Growth Form: shrub
Life Cycle: perennial
Class: angiosperm (plant with covered seed).
SubClass: dicot (plants with two seed leaves and netted leaf veins).
Season of Bloom: early summer (Jun.).
Life Zone: foothills/montane.
Habitat: dry, rocky slopes at 4,500 to 9,000 feet.
Eco. Relationships: foothills climax community in more rocky and/or xeric (dry) sites than Gambel's oak; excellent browse for deer as well as all types of livestock; fruits are a common food of the Colorado chipmunk, distributed in rocky shrublands and woodlands in the foothills and montane life zones of Colorado; drops its leaves under conditions of drought.

Origin: native

Landscaping Use: hedge, small shrub, berrier.
Moisture Requirement: drought tolerant, infrequent irrigation required.
Light Requirement: full sun.
Soil Requirement: coarse to rocky, pH 6.5 to 7.5, deep, dry, well-drained.

Fiber/Dye: Native Americans used bark and roots to make a reddish-brown dye for leather leggings and moccasins.
Other Uses: Native Americans used wood to make tools such as double-curved bows, fish spears, arrow points, digging sticks, tool handles, weaving gear and war clubs; Spanish Americans placed branches under mattresses to repel bedbugs.

Version: 3.0.0      Release Date: August 2015       ©2015 Jefferson County ITS

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