Cercocarpus traskiae

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Cercocarpus traskiae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Cercocarpus
Species: C. traskiae
Binomial name
Cercocarpus traskiae
Cercocarpus traskiae range map 2.png
Natural range of Cercocarpus traskiae

Cercocarpus traskiae, known by the common names Santa Catalina Island mountain-mahogany and Catalina mahogany, is a rare species of plant in the rose family.


It is endemic to Catalina Island, one of the southern Channel Islands in Los Angeles County, ]]California]]. It is known from just a single population.[1] It was rare when it was first discovered in 1897[2] or 1898,[1] when about 40[2] to 50[1] plants were counted. When it was federally listed as an endangered species in 1996 there were only six mature plants remaining.[1] It has been called "one of the rarest shrubs in the continental United States"[2] and "one of the rarest trees in North America."[3] in Wild Boar Gully, an arroyo covered in coastal sage scrub on Catalina.[3] The steep sides of the arroyo contain soils of saussurite gabbro.[1][3]


Cercocarpus traskiae is a large shrub or tree that grows up to 8 meters in height. The leaves have thick, leathery oval blades with serrated edges and woolly-haired undersides. The leathery, woolly texture of the leaves distinguishes it from other Cercocarpus.[4] The inflorescence is a cluster of up to 10 flowers which do not have petals. Plants do not always flower each year.[3]

While there are sometimes many seedlings noted, the seedling survival rate and rate of recruitment are quite low.[3] As of 2007, there are only seven adult trees capable of reproduction, all located in Wild Boar Gully, and most of these are very old.[3]


The Catalina Island mountain mahogany is threatened by ungulates such as deer, and feral goats and pigs.[3] The goats have been removed from the island, and fencing has been placed to prevent the remaining animals from touching the plants.[3]

This rare species hybridizes with its relative, Cercocarpus betuloides, a situation that may lead to genetic swamping of the rare plant.[4] This hybridization may be made more likely by the animals' disturbance of the habitat.[3] Many of the seedlings and saplings growing today may be hybrids.[3]

The population of pure Cercocarpus traskiae is not increasing and the species is entirely dependent on human intervention today.[3] [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Comprehensive Report Species - Cercocarpus traskiae". NatureServe. The Nature Conservancy. August 2010. Retrieved January 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c "National Collection of Imperiled Plants - Plant Profile: Cercocarpus traskiae". Center for Plant Conservation, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri. March 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved January 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k USFWS. Cercocarpus traskiae Five Year Review. September 2007.
  4. ^ a b Rieseberg, L. H. and D. Gerber. (1995). Hybridization in the Catalina Island mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae): RAPD evidence. Archived September 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Conservation Biology 9:1 199.
  5. ^ IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Cercocarpus traskiae; World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1998) . downloaded on 30 January 2011.

External links[edit]