Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides

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Species Name: Cercocarpus betuloides var. betuloides
Common Name: Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany

Tough and attractive. Very drought tolerant. Good hedge plant either trimmed or untrimmed. Can be kept narrow. Seed plumes shimmer in summer and fall. Wonderful all-purpose plant!

Plant Family: Rosaceae
Plant Type: Shrub
Height by Width: 8-10' H x 8-10' W
Growth Habit: Upright
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Moderate
Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to occasional
Cold Hardy to: 20 degrees F
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Yellowish
Endangered?: Not listed
Distribution: Northwest California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central West, Transverse & Penisular Ranges, Modoc Plataeu, Baja
Natural Habitat: Chaparral, pine-oak woodland, coniferous forest

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Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "Graceful arching branches with small wrinkled leaves of rich deep green. Flowers small, pale yellow, rather inconspicuous, but followed by interesting feathery tailed seeds. Rapid in growth, thriving in either sun or shade, making a very cheerful appearance in all stages of its growth. One of the most useful of the native shrubs, excellent for foundation planting against a wall or building and can be used to great advantage in a shrubbery group. Will grow with very little water, at the same time water does not seem to hurt it, and it will stand ordinary garden culture. Gallon cans, 50c; 5 gallon cans, $1.75."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.
  • Harlow, Nora and Kristin Jakob. Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses: Gardening with California Monocots. Berkely and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 2003.