Cercocarpus ledifolius

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Cercocarpus ledifolius
Cercocarpus ledifolius 8219.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Cercocarpus
Species: C. ledifolius
Binomial name
Cercocarpus ledifolius
Nutt.
Cercocarpus ledifolius range map 2.png
Natural range of Cercocarpus ledifolius
Synonyms[1]
  • Cercocarpus hypoleucus Rydb.
  • Cercocarpus ledifolius var. hypoleucus (Rydb.) M.Peck
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany branch with curly, fuzzy flowers

Cercocarpus ledifolius is a North American species of mountain mahogany known by the common name curl-leaf mountain mahogany. It widespread across much of the Western United States as well as Baja California in Mexico.[2][3]

Flowering mountain-mahogany backlit on mountain hillside

Description[edit]

Cercocarpus ledifolius is a large, densely branching shrub or a tree which may reach 10 meters (33 feet) in height. Its leathery, sticky, dark green leaves are up to 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) long and lance-shaped, and the edges may curl under. The flower consists of a small tan tube from which protrudes a long, plumelike style covered in luxuriant tan hairs. The flowers are arranged in inflorescences of up to 3. The fruit is a hairy achene one half to just over one centimeter (0.2-0.4 inches) long. This plant grows on low mountains and slopes. [4][3]

It has a great many medicinal uses for various Native American groups, such as the Paiute and Shoshone.

Cercocarpus ledifolius large tree

Age[edit]

Cercocarpus ledifolius is known to attain ages at least as great as 1,350 years, although the tree that yielded this age was cut down[5] This makes it one of the oldest known flowering plants.

Greater ages have been attributed to various olive trees (Olea europaea) and a sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) in Sri Lanka was reportedly planted in 283 BC, but that date has been contested. The 1,350 year date cited here is also potentially inaccurate due to dating uncertainties detailed by the authors.[5] Much older plants are known to exist, but as clones, not as individuals.

References[edit]

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