Cercocarpus betuloides
Common name: 
Birchleaf Mountain-mahogany
Western Mountain-mahogany
Mountain Ironwood
Sweet Brush
ser-ko-KAR-pus bet-ul-OY-dez
C. montanus var. glaber
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen erect shrub or small tree, 5-12 ft (1.5-3.6 m) tall, sometimes to 20 ft (6 m) and wide spreading, open; bark is gray and smooth.  Leaves alternate, simple, often clustered at ends of spur-like shoots, 1.3-4 cm long, obovate, base wedge-shaped, apex round, margins serrate above middle, pinnately veined, dark green to yellow-green above, paler and slightly pubescence below, petiole about 6 mm long.  Flowers are small, red tinged and fruit is a slender, hairy, achene tipped with a long, 5-8 cm, plumose tail.
  • Sun, well-drained soil
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6    Native range is from southwestern Oregon south through California to Baja California, and east to the mountains of central Arizona.
  • Some controversy exists on the taxonomy of Cercocarpus, the so-called True Mountain-mahogany is now considered Cercocarpus montanus Raf. and many varieties are now recognized, such as:
    • C. m. var. argenteus, Silverleaf Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. blancheae, Island Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. glaber, Birchleaf Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. macrourus, Klamath Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. minutiflorus, Smooth Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. montanus, Alderleaf Mountain-mahogany
      C. m. var. paucidentatus, ShaggyMountain-mahogany
                  (See: www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/).
  • betuloides: resembling birch (Betula)
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: extreme SW corner of the "arboretum area" south of Peavy Forest Science Center
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    plant habit

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    plant habit

  • plant habit, in a landscape

    plant habit, in a landscape

  • foliage


  • stems and leaves

    stems and leaves

  • leafy shoot

    leafy shoot

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    flowering shoot

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  • flower and young fruit

    flower and young fruit

  • after flowering and fruit development

    after flowering and fruit development

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    fruit and leaves

  • trunks, bark

    trunks, bark