Cercocarpus montanus

Common Name: mountain mahogany 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Western United States
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 8.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Whitish yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers a sandy clay soil and will tolerate drought once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercocarpus montanus is a woody shrub which grows up to 12' tall. It vase-like shape and silvery seed plumes are perhaps its most outstanding features. Early summer flowers are insignificant, but give way to fruits (hard nutlets) with long, attractive, silvery-white, feathery tails which cover the shrub in late summer. Commonly called mountain mahogany because the bark is a red mahogany color. Green foliage turns russet in the fall. A native American shrub or small tree which grows in certain dry, chaparral, foothill and lower mountain regions of the West (central Rockies and Sierras from California to Washington).

Genus name comes from the Greek words kerkos meaning a tail and karpos meaning a fruit for the fruit's "tail".

Specific epithet means pertaining to mountains.


No serious problems.


The silvery-white seed plumes may be best highlighted when this shrub is grown in a location where it will be backlit by early morning or late evening sun. Effective as a windbreak, as background in the border or woodland garden or for erosion control on a slope.