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Plant Profile: Narrowleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cerococarpus intricatus)

This evergreen shrub is native to western US from Wyoming south to colorado and New Mexico, west to California and is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes cherry, almond, and lady’s mantle.  It grows 6-8′ tall and has an intricate branching structure and small, narrow, leathery leaves that are blue-green and up to 1/2″ long.  The edges of the leaves roll under and sometimes roll under so much that the leaves appear tubular.  In spring, inconspicuous, petaless flowers appear bearing a 5-lobed tube formed by the sepals.  The long fruit is twisted and carried a long plume.   The plants are very drought tolerant and suitable for a xeriscap where it can be used as a hedge or screen if prunned to produce dense growth. The genus name, Cercocarpus, comes from the Greek word kerkos meaning a tail and karpos meaning a fruit and refers to conspicuous fruit.  The specific epithet, intricatus, is the Latin word meaning tangled and refers to the branching pattern.

Type: Evergreen shrub

Outstanding Feature: Drought tolerance

Form: Rounded

Growth Rate: Slow

Bloom: Inconspicuous greenish yellow apetalous flowers with 5-lobed trumpet shaped tube formed by the sepals in spring

Size: 6-8’H x 4-6′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, dry, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Care: Can be hard pruned, even to the ground, to promote bushiness.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: seed, cuttings

Photo Credit:Wikimedia Commons