Cercocarpus montanus

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Cercocarpus montanus
Alderleaf Mountain Mahogany.jpg
feather-like achenes are the fruit
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Cercocarpus
C. montanus
Binomial name
Cercocarpus montanus
Varieties [2] [3]
Synonyms [4]
  • Cercocarpus argenteusRydb.
  • Cercocarpus flabellifoliusRydb.
  • Cercocarpus minutiflorusAbrams
  • Cercocarpus parvifolius var. paucidentatusS. Watson
  • Cercocarpus paucidentatus(S. Watson) Britton

Cercocarpus montanus is a North American species of shrub or small tree in the family Rosaceae native to northern Mexico and the western United States. It is known by the common names alder-leaf mountain-mahogany, alder-leaf cercocarpus, and true mountain-mahogany. [2] [5] The variety argenteus is commonly known as silverleaf mountain-mahogany. [2]

Shrub type of plant

A shrub or bush is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height, less than 6 m-10 m (20 ft–33 ft) tall. Small shrubs, less than 2 m (6.6 ft) tall are sometimes termed subshrubs.

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.

Rosaceae family of plants

Rosaceae, the rose family, is a medium-sized family of flowering plants, including 4,828 known species in 91 genera.



Cercocarpus montanus is common in chaparral scrub, on mesas, the lower foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains in the United States. [6] Its range extends from Montana, Idaho, and South Dakota south as far as Sonora, Durango, and Nuevo León. [2] [7] [8]

Chaparral shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the US state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico.

Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the US state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. It is shaped by a Mediterranean climate and wildfire, featuring summer-drought-tolerant plants with hard sclerophyllous evergreen leaves, as contrasted with the associated soft-leaved, drought-deciduous, scrub community of coastal sage scrub, found below the chaparral biome. Chaparral covers 5% of the state of California and associated Mediterranean shrubland an additional 3.5%. The name comes from the Spanish word chaparro, for evergreen oak shrubland.

Mesa Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs

A mesa is an isolated, flat-topped elevation, ridge or hill, which is bounded from all sides by steep escarpments and stands distinctly above a surrounding plain. Mesas characteristically consist of flat-lying soft sedimentary rocks capped by a more resistant layer or layers of harder rock, e.g. shales overlain by sandstones. The resistant layer acts as a caprock that forms the flat summit of a mesa. The caprock can consist of either sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and limestone; dissected lava flows; or a deeply eroded duricrust. Unlike plateau, whose usage does not imply horizontal layers of bedrock, e.g. Tibetan Plateau, the term mesa applies exclusively to the landforms built of flat-lying strata. Instead, flat-topped plateaus are specifcally know as tablelands.

Rocky Mountains Major mountain range in western North America

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range located in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 km (1,900 mi) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.


Cercocarpus montanus often remains under 1 metre (3.3 ft) in height because of browsing by elk and deer, but can reach 20 feet (6.1 m). It has thin and smooth bark. [5] The species is considered to be long lived. [9]

Elk Large antlered species of deer from North America and east Asia

The elk or wapiti is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Northeast Asia. This animal should not be confused with the still larger moose to which the name "elk" applies in British English and in reference to populations in Eurasia.

Deer A family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

Deer are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the fallow deer, and the chital; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), the roe deer, and the moose. Female reindeer, and male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).

Related Research Articles

<i>Cercocarpus</i> genus of plants

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

<i>Cercocarpus ledifolius</i> species of plant

Cercocarpus ledifolius is a North American species of mountain mahogany known by the common name curl-leaf mountain mahogany. It widespread across much of the Western United States as well as Baja California in Mexico. It can be found at elevations ranging from 600 to 3,000 m elevation, with the preferred altitude varying depending on the region. It prefers shallow, well-drained soils with a sandy or grainy consistency, and is generally found in areas which receive low annual precipitation. This makes it common on low mountains and slopes, where it grows in scattered groves among other drought-resistant species such as Pinyon Pines, Junipers and Sagebrush ecosystems.

<i>Prunus pumila</i> species of plant

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<i>Cercocarpus traskiae</i> species of plant

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<i>Cercocarpus betuloides</i> species of plant

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<i>Calochortus persistens</i> species of plant

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<i>Carex rossii</i> species of plant

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<i>Cercocarpus ledifolius <span style="font-style:normal;">var.</span> intricatus</i> species of plant

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<i>Ribes divaricatum</i> species of plant

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<i>Ribes inerme</i> species of plant

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<i>Ceanothus americanus</i> species of plant

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<i>Quercus pungens</i> species of plant

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<i>Erigeron rhizomatus</i> species of plant

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<i>Garrya wrightii</i> species of plant

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<i>Gaylussacia frondosa</i> species of plant

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<i>Xanthisma coloradoense</i> species of plant

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Cercocarpus breviflorus, commonly known as desert mountain mahogany or hairy mountain mahogany, is a species of plant in the rose family, native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.


  1.  C. montanus was originally described and published in Atlantic Journal, and Friend of Knowledge, 146. 1832. Philadelphia, Penn. "Plant Name Details for Cercocarpus montanus". IPNI .
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Cercocarpus montanus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  3.  C. m. var. argenteus was published in Brittonia; a Series of Botanical Papers, 7: 104. 1950. New York. "Plant Name Details for Cercocarpus montanus var. argenteus". IPNI.
  4. "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species" . Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  5. 1 2 "Cercocarpus montanus". FED. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  6. Weber, W. A. (1976). Rocky Mountain flora: A field guide for the identification of the Ferns, Conifers, and Flowering Plants of the Southern Rocky Mountains from Pikes Peak to Rocky Mountain National Park and from the Plains to the Continental Divide. Niwot, Colorado: University Press of Colorado.
  7. Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  8. SEINet, Southwestern Biodiversity, Arizona chapter photos and distribution map
  9. Kitchen, Stanley (2004). Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories, Volume 1. Rocky Mountain Research Station: U.S. Department of Agriculture. pp. 170–180.

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