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Cercocarpus ledifolius

Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany

This large, upright, slow-growing evergreen shrub is native to much of the Southwestern U.S., occurring on arid, rocky slopes from 5000 to 10,000 feet. Mature plants develop twisting branches, with interesting fissures in the smooth grey bark. Small leathery leaves are dark green on top, with hairy white undersides, and the leaf edges curl under distinctively. The foliage is resinous and aromatic. Masses of creamy yellow flowers in the spring are followed by silver corkscrews in the fall. Each seed is attached to one of these fuzzy tails, and the bush glows when backlit by the sun. It provides good shelter and food for birds and other wildlife. Use in full sun and well-drained soil. It is extremely drought tolerant.