Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany

  • Scientific name: Cercocarpus montanus
  • AKA True Mountain Mahogany, Bush Mahogany
  • Distributed throughout the western United States
  • Occurs on rocky bluffs, mountainsides, rimrock, canyons, open woodlands
  • Likes rocky, gravelly, coarse thin, well drained soils
  • Heat and drought tolerant
  • Shrub-like, averaging 4-6 feet tall
  • Excellent forage for cattle, sheep, and goats

Quantity is per pound. Example: 1 = 1 lb, 2 = 2 lbs, 3 = 3lbs, etc. This is pure seed, not a live plant.

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Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus) is distributed throughout the western United States and occurs on rocky bluffs, mountainsides, rimrock, breaks, and in canyons and open woodlands in rocky, gravelly thin soils. It is very common in swales where snow lays during the winter. It generally occurs at elevations between 4,000 and 7,000 feet, though it can be found as high at 10,000. It is heat and drought tolerant and is moderately tolerant of acid and alkali soils. It is also somewhat shade tolerant, but grows better without an overgrowing forest canopy. It is most abundant on sunny sites with coarse, shallow, well-drained soils and is associated with Gambel oak, serviceberry, bitterbrush, big sagebrush. Also known as “Bush” Mahogany, Birchleaf Mahogany, Alderleaf Mahogany or True Mountain Mahogany.

Birchleaf Mountain Mahogany is very palatable and provides good to excellent forage for cattle, sheep, and goats. It is extremely valuable as winter browse for deer and bighorn sheep. The twigs are palatable yearlong and are grazed heavily. Birchleaf Mahogany is an important range and wildlife habitat improvement species and is a common ingredient in reclamation seed mixes.

Birchleaf Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus) and Curl Leaf “Tree Mahogany” (Cercocarpus ledifolius) are related but do not generally share the same habitat. The leaves of ledifolius are thin and smooth edged while montanus are broad and serrated. Ledifolius grows more tree-like, reaching heights of 20 feet tall, while montanus is short and shrub-like averaging 4-6 feet tall.

American Indians used wood from Birchleaf to make tools and war clubs. Hopi Indians used the bark to make a reddish-brown dye for leather.

Quick Plant Facts
Seed Count

59,000 per pound

Min. Precipitation


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