Oregon State University
Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

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curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
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  • Size: A shrub growing to 15' tall or a small tree (40' tall and 2' in diameter).

  • Leaves: Simple; alternate (and clustered on spur shoots); evergreen. Elliptical; 1/2"-1" long; thick and leathery; edges curled under.

  • Fruit: A single seed 1/2" long with a feathery tail up to 3" long.

  • Twigs: Spur shoots common.

  • Bark: Furrows and ridges that break into plate-like scales. Red- or gray-brown.

  • Distribution: Curlleaf mountain-mahogany ranges from southern Oregon to southern California and eastward through most of the Rockies.

birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides)

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  • Size: An erect shrub to 15' tall or a small tree to 40' tall.

  • Leaves: Simple, alternate (and clustered on spur shoots), evergreen (often just barely). Obovate in shape; 1/2"-2" wide; serrated above the midpoint and entire below.

  • Fruit: A single seed topped by a white, feathery tail up to 3" long.

  • Twigs: Slender; reddish-brown; spur shoots. Gray to reddish-brown.

  • Bark: Thin and smooth on young trees, becoming scaly with age.

  • Distribution: Birchleaf mountain-mahogany likes the dry foothills and lower mountain slopes of the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevadas - but in the southern portion of its range it also grows eastward into Arizona.

For more information about these species see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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