Birch leaf mountain mahogany is most commonly found growing in chaparral, oak woodland, and pine or mixed evergreen forest in areas with good drainage. This drought tolerant shrub is in the rose family, and its botanical name, Cercocarpus betuloides, helps with identification. Cerco is derived from the Greek word, kerkos, meaning “tail.” Carpus means “fruit.” The description of a tailed fruit refers to the distinctive curly, feather-like achene fruit that facilitates wind dispersal. Betula is the genus for birch trees, and betuloides refers to the birch-like leaves. The common name, mountain mahogany is used because of the extremely hard and reddish heartwood that was crafted into tools by Native Americans, and is still used by wood crafters today. Semi-evergreen, nitrogen fixing, drought tolerant, adaptable to many soil types, but susceptible to heavy deer browse. Generally grows to around 15′ tall. The inconspicuous white flowers are wind pollinated.
Cercocarpus betuloides seed packets contain 1/2 teaspoon of seed.
Seed Germination Instructions
No pretreatment required. Sow outside in fall to early spring.