Cercocarpus, commonly known as the Mountain-mahogany, is a small genus of five or six species of deciduous shrubs or small trees in the rose family (Rosaceae), native to the western United States and northern Mexico, where they grow in chaparral and semi-desert habitats and climates, often at high altitudes. They typically reach 3 to 6 meters - 9–18 feet tall, but exceptionally up to 13 meters-40 feet in height.
The classification of Cercocarpus within the Rosaceae has been unclear. The genus has been placed in the subfamily Rosoideae, but is now placed in subfamily Dryadoideae.
The Alderleaf variety is prominent in the foothills of Colorado but usually remains under 1 meter-3 feet in height because of incessant browsing by elk and deer. This variety of mountain-mahogany is generally located on the south or west facing slopes because it cannot thrive in the shade on the north facing slopes. Several are found in the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.
* Cercocarpus betuloides - Birchleaf Mountain-mahogany
1. ^ Morgan, D.R., et al. (1994). Systematic and evolutionary implications of rbcL sequence variation in Rosaceae. American Journal of Botany. 81(7): 890–903.
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