UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Shrub-Tree- California Mountain Mahogany

Mountain Mahogany photo by loarie
Common Name: California Mountain Mahogany, Sweet Brush

Botanical Name: Cercocarpus betuloides

Family: Rosaceae

Description: Evergreen shrub or tree found in the Western mountains and foothills in Oregon, California and east to the Rockies

Sun: Full sun

Water requirements: Little to no water

Soil requirements: Dry slopes; can tolerate clay soils and wind

Habit and form:  Shrub 5-12 foot tall to small tree about 20 feet tall with an open habit. Leaves are green above and pale below, so it looks silvery. Leaves are small and hairy

Flower type: Small, clustered white flowers

Mountain Mahogany photo by randomtruth
Flower color bloom season: White flowers in the summer turning into small fruit with a long, feathery plume in the fall

Uses, if any, for plant and/or flowers: Erosion control on slopes

Pruning time and method: Only if needed to remove dead wood; during winter

Maintenance tips: Low maintenance

Comments: Received its common name from its reddish bark

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