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Common Name: Mountain Mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 4.00 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Western N. America - Washington to California.
Dry rocky bluffs or mountainsides, 1,000 - 2,700 metres in Texas[
Requires a perfectly drained soil in a sunny position[
]. Tolerant of salt spray[
]. Succeeds in a hot dry position.
This species has many sub-species. Whilst some forms are hardy to about -17°c when in a suitable soil and position, other forms are frost tender. The hardiest forms, succeeding in zone 5, are C. montanus argenteus (Rydb.)F.L.Matinn and C. montanus glaber (S.Wats.)F.L.Martin. Less hardy are C. montanus paucidentatus (S.Wats.)F.L.Martin which succeeds in zone 7, C. montanus blanchae (C.Schneid.)F.L.Martin and C. montanus minutiflorus (Abrams.)F.L.Martin are hardy in zone 8 whilst C. montanus traskiae (Eastw.)F.L.Martin. is the least hardy, to zone 9[
Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
An infusion of the leaves has been used as a general strengthened to the system[
The roots and the bark have been used in the treatment of stomach complaints[
A cold infusion of the plant or leaves has been used as a laxative[
Bunches of the tied stems have been used as rough brooms[
A red to brown dye can be obtained from the root bark[
]. The bark is often mixed with alder and wild plum root barks when making the dye[
Tolerant of maritime exposure and amenable to training, this species can be grown as a hedge in seaside gardens[
The wood is heavy, hard and brittle[
]. It makes a valuable fuel and is occasionally used in the manufacture of small articles for domestic and industrial use[
Seed - sow autumn or late winter in a cold frame. Seed of the more tender forms is best sown in the late winter whilst hardier forms are best sown in the autumn. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame.