ledifolius Nutt. Ex Torr. & Gray
Life Span: Perennial
shrub to small tree with 1 to several trunks. It grows, on average,
3 to 15 feet tall, but can reach up the 35 feet tall. It characteristically
grows in scattered patches. Flowers May to July and reproduces from
flowers lack petals, and are found either solitary or in clusters
of 2 to 3 in the leaf axils. Tube-shaped.
Fruit is a hard, narrow, and sharp-pointed achenes. The seed is
tipped with a persistent feathery style, which is corkscrew-like
and enables the seed to penetrate the ground. Curlleaf mountain
mahogany begins producing fruit at 15 years.
sometimes appearing clustered. They are resinous and aromatic. The
blades are lance-shaped with rolled margins. The leaf has a prominent
midvein, with a dark green top and a paler, rusty to white hairy
are stiff. The bark is reddish-brown, and deeply grooved.
mountain mahogany is found on hills, rocky slopes, and rocky ridges,
and in canyons. It is somewhat shade tolerant.
to a wide range of soil textures, most abundant in dry coarse-textured
Rocky Mountain juniper, big
mountain-mahogany is good forage for all classes of browsing animals
in both summer and winter; it is one of the few browse species that
meets or exceeds the protein requirements for wintering big game
In mature stands, much of curlleaf mountain-mahogany foliage is
out of reach of browsing animals but provides excellent winter cover.
The wood of curlleaf mountain mahogany is so hard and dense that
it will not float. It provides excellent fuel, producing intense
heat and burning for long periods. Because curlleaf mountain-mahogany
wood burns slowly, it was the preferred charcoal wood used for smelting
ores in the nineteenth century. It is also highly prized as a barbecue
The Goshute Indians of Utah made bows from this wood.
Because of its tolerance to heat and drought, curlleaf mountain-mahogany
can be used for water-efficient landscaping in arid environments.