|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Cercocarpus (Greek, tail and fruit; the fruit with a long, hairy tail). Rosaceae. Mountain Mahogany. Small trees or shrubs but rarely grown for their attractive evergreen or half-evergreen foliage and the peculiar feathery tailed achenes.
Leaves alternate, persistent, rather small: fls. inconspicuous, apetalous, whitish or reddish, in the axils of fascicled lvs.; calyx-tube cylindric, elongated, abruptly expanded at the apex into a cup-shaped deciduous, 5-lobed limb bearing 15-30 stamens with short filaments; ovary 1-celled, inclosed in the calyx-tube, with a long exserted style.: fr. a 1-seeded achene, surmounted by the persistent, long and hairy style.—Small genus of about 10, mostly rather local species, in the Rocky Mts. from Mont, south to Mex. and in Calif.
The cercocarpuses are not particularly ornamental, yet they are attractive with their small evergreen dark foliage and their feathery tailed fruits: they are adapted for planting on dry rocky or gravelly slopes in arid temperate regions, as they thrive under very unfavorable conditions. The very heavy and close-grained wood is manufactured into small articles, and valued as fuel and for making charcoal. C. ledifolius and C. parvifolius are the hardiest and stand frost to zero, while C. Traskiae can be grown only in southern California. They may be cultivated in any well-drained soil in sunny positions, and propagated by seeds or by cuttings of half-ripened wood under glass.CH
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Pests and diseases
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C. betuloides - Birchleaf Mountain-mahogany
C. breviflorus - Hairy Mountain-mahogany
C. intricatus - Littleleaf Mountain-mahogany
C. ledifolius - Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany
C. montanus - Alderleaf Mountain-mahogany
C. traskiae - Catalina Island Mountain-mahogany
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963