Cerocarpus ledifolius var. ledifolius Nutt.
Curl-Leaf Mountain-Mahogany is a native evergreen shrub or small
tree growing up to 35 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. A
slow-growing tree or large shrub, it is not a true evergreen, but its leaves
persist over winter and do not fall until after the new leaves are growing, The thick,
tortuous, leaf-scarred branches arise from a short trunk and form a round or
umbrella-shaped crown. The young stems are reddish-brown aging
to grayish-brown. The bark is grayish brown with rough, furrowed bark and
plate-like scales. The leaves alternate on the branches
and are persistent, the leaf margins are curled and the leaf looks linear in
shape. Individual leaves are dark green and often smooth and shining on the
upper surface and paler and sparsely to densely grayish hairy on the lower
surface. The blades are more or less sticky-resinous. Flowers are greenish white
with 1-3 found in the leaf axils. It grows in desert
foothills to mountain slopes, primarily in rocky soils. It is found from
southern Montana across Idaho to southeastern Oregon.
The scraped bark makes a flavorful addition to a brew of ephedra tea. The wood has been used for smoking of meats by Native Americans.
Mountain mahogany was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. However, it is seldom used as a modern herb,. The bark is anti hemorrhagic, cardiac, stomachache and tonic. A decoction has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds, pneumonia, spitting up of blood, stomach aches, diarrhea (including for children), tuberculosis and VD. A poultice of the green powdered wood has been applied to sores, cuts, wounds and burns. It has also been sprinkled on syphilitic sores. An exudation from the plant has been dried, ground into a powder and applied to the ear to treat earaches.
A red dye is obtained from the inner bark. The wood is extremely hard and so dense that it will not float in water. It is also brittle. It makes an excellent fuel, giving off intense heat whilst burning for a long time. It is occasionally used in the manufacture of small articles for domestic and industrial use. (PFAF).
Value for Wildlife:
Curl leaf 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 animals. In mature stands, much of curl leaf mountain-mahogany foliage is out of reach of browsing animals, but provides excellent winter cover. (Source)
It requires a position in full sun in a perfectly draining soil. Succeeds in dry soils. Tolerates maritime exposure. vSome forms of this species are hardy to about -17°c. Use Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.