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Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Trees Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
 
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Tree-like specimen in central Nevada

Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) are evergreen, shrubby trees that grow to form impenetrable thickets at Middle elevations in the mountains. The leaves are thick and curled under, and the fruits have one long (2-3 inch) feather-like plume.

Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany is found primarily on gravel slopes and rocky ridges in the Upper Sonoran (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) and Transition (Yellow Pine Forest) Life Zones, but sometimes are found in higher life zones on sunny, south-facing slopes.

Family: Rose (Rosaceae).

Other Names:

Plant Form: Shrub to small tree, forming dense, shrubby thickets.

Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Shrub-like specimen from southern Nevada

Height: To about 25 feet, but usually less than 8 ft in the desert mountains around Las Vegas.

Trunk: To about 12-in thick, reddish-brown bark, furrowed with age.

Leaves: Long, narrow, evergreen leaves. Thick and leathery. Green above, white (densely hairy) below. The edges of the long, narrow leaves are curled under.

Flowers: Small, yellow rose flowers. Bloom in the spring.

Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)

Seeds: Size and shape of a grain of wheat, but with a long (2-3 inch) feather-like plume.

Distribution: Western Mountains from Washington and Montana south to Mexico.

Elevation: Middle elevations in the mountains.

Habitat: Gravel slopes, rocky ridges.

Comments: For the off-trail hiker in the mountains around Las Vegas, impenetrable Mountain Mahogany thickets present one of the greatest obstacles.

Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Leaves and plumed fruits
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Leaves have curled-down edges
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Plume on developing fruit
more to come ...

 
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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 120617

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