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Cercocarpus intricatus 12.jpg
C. ledifolius var. intricatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Dryadoideae
Genus: Cercocarpus

Several, see text

Cercocarpus distribution.svg

Cercocarpus, commonly known as mountain mahogany, is a small genus of five or six species of nitrogen-fixing[2] flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae. They are native to the western United States and northern Mexico, where they grow in chaparral and semi-desert habitats and climates, often at high altitudes. Several are found in the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.

Cercocarpus intricatus, Spring Mountains, southern Nevada (elevation about 2700 m)

The classification of Cercocarpus within the Rosaceae has been unclear.[3][4] The genus has been placed in the subfamily Rosoideae, but is now placed in subfamily Dryadoideae.[5]

Members of the genus are deciduous shrubs or small trees, typically reaching heights of 3 to 6 meters (9–18 feet) tall, but exceptionally up to 13 meters (40 feet) high. C. montanus usually remains under 1 meter (3 feet) high because of incessant browsing by elk and deer.

The name is derived from the Greek words κέρκος (kerkos), meaning "tail" and καρπός (karpos), meaning "fruit." It refers to the tail-like plume on the fruits.[6]

Species [7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Genus: Cercocarpus Kunth". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2004-06-21. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  2. ^ http://web.uconn.edu/mcbstaff/benson/Frankia/Rosaceae.htm
  3. ^ Morgan, D.R., et al. (1994). Systematic and evolutionary implications of rbcL sequence variation in Rosaceae. American Journal of Botany. 81(7): 890–903.
  4. ^ Eriksson, T., et al. (2003). The phylogeny of Rosoideae (Rosaceae) based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA and the trnL/F region of chloroplast DNA. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 164: 197–211.
  5. ^ Potter, D., et al. (2007). Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 266(1–2): 5–43.
  6. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. I: A-C. CRC Press. p. 485. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2. 
  7. ^ The Plant List, Cercocarpus
  8. ^ "Cercocarpus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  9. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Cercocarpus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  10. ^ "Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Genus Cercocarpus Kunth". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercocarpus — Please support Wikipedia.
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40 news items

San Jose Mercury News
Sat, 12 Mar 2011 04:28:11 -0800

Cercocarpus species, like Ceanothus, have nitrogen fixing bacteria, which means it has nodules attached to the roots that allow the plant to fix nitrogen to the soil. This provides the plant with nutrients that otherwise would be lacking from the lean ...


Thu, 29 Oct 2015 09:06:50 -0700

After Chile's extraordinarily heavy rain this season, the Atacama Desert has become a flowering spectacle. The driest desert in the world, located on the Pacific coast and covering 600 miles of land, has suddenly sprouted a gorgeous carpet of ...

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:01:03 -0700

David and Rebecca Pardee went native and never looked back. And now they're enjoying the benefits of gardening on the wild side. With petals like rays of morning sunshine, cheery yellow tidy tips and bright orange California poppies fill the space once ...
Colorado Springs Gazette
Sat, 21 Mar 2015 03:18:43 -0700

For southern exposures, mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus) and New Mexico privet (Forestiera neomexicana) are choices that will not require much care beyond the initial years of establishment. Both grow to about 10 feet, making them good candidates for ...

Catalina Island News (press release)

Catalina Island News (press release)
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Fuzzy hairs on leaves, like on those of the Catalina Island mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae), provide shade to limit transpiration and keep its surface cool. Succulents resist drought by storing water in their swollen leaves and using it sparingly.

Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee
Sat, 18 Jan 2014 00:04:21 -0800

Among Zagory's other recommendations: coffeeberry ( Rhamnus californica), Oregon grape ( Mahonia aquifolium), California lilac ( Ceanothus), buckwheats ( Eriogonum), mountain mahogany ( Cercocarpus betuloides) and redbud ( Cercis occidentalis).


Mon, 04 Nov 2013 17:41:07 -0800

Take for instance the Catalina mahogany, Cercocarpus traskiae, with just seven individual plants remaining in the wild. Or the Catalina manzanita, Arctostaphylos catalinae, for which the California Native Plant Society has just nine locations on record ...

LA Magazine

LA Magazine
Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:00:47 -0700

Between 1919 and 1928, amateur archeologist Ralph Glidden dug into the earth in search of Indian artifacts for his homemade museum (admission 40 cents). His greatest discovery was a native cemetery, which he raided to decorate a macabre ossuary in his ...

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