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Cercocarpus ledifolius

Cercocarpus ledifolius

 
Cercocarpus ledifolius (Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands. Spring.
Western Colorado, May 1, 2013.

Of the three Cercocarpus species of the Four Corners states, C. ledifolius is by far the most robust, tallest, and thickest of stem. The plant grows to over 20 feet tall, often with several stems to four or five inches in diameter. The ten year old plant shown on this page is eight feet tall but others of the same age might be twice that height. Some plants grow lean and tall; some lower and thick. After decades of growth their shape is very similar.

Click to see Cercocapus intricatus and Cercocarpus montanus and to read about the similarities of the three plants.

The shape, rapid growth, numerous flowers, and evergreen quality make Cercocarpus ledifolius an attractive garden ornamental.

Famed botanist and Harvard teacher, Thomas Nuttall, discovered this species for science in 1834 and he named it in Torrey and Gray's North American Flora of 1840. "Ledifolius" means "with leaves like those of the genus Ledum, Labrador Tea".

Cercocarpus ledifolius

Cercocarpus ledifolius

Cercocarpus ledifolius

Cercocarpus ledifolius (Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands. Spring.
Western Colorado, May 1, 2013.

Although the flowers are small, they are numerous in tight showy clusters.

Cercocarpus ledifolius

Cercocarpus ledifolius (Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands. Spring.
Western Colorado, May 1, 2013.

Leaves often have downward rolled margins and the leaves are thick, prominently veined, short-hairy, and evergreen.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Cercocarpus ledifolius

Range map for Cercocarpus ledifolius