Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany as seen on Baldy Mountain, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness.........July 2, 2010.
Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany is a many-branched shrub to small tree normally from 3 to 20 feet high, but occasionally to 45 feet. 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, being narrowly elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate in shape. Because the leaf margins are often strongly revolute (curled), the leaf often looks linear in shape. Individual leaf blades measure from 1-3 cm long and up to 10 mm wide and 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.
One to three greenish-white flowers are found in the leaf axils. They are sessile and bracteate. There are 20-30 stamens. The seeds are achene-like, 5-7 mm long, with an attractive, plumed tail 5-8 cm long.
Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany is an important source of winter protection for mule deer. The wood has been used as a fuel source and for the smoking of meats by Native Americans. The strong, hard wood was also used to make arrow shafts and as digging implements. The leaves were used as a laxative, and the inner bark to treat lung problems. A red dye was also made fro the bark and the roots.
Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany may be found from desert foothills to mountain slopes, primarily in rocky soils.
Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany is found form southeastern Washington east to the Rocky Mts. of Montana, south to southwest Oregon and through the Sierra Mts to southern California, east again to Arizona and western Colorado.
Curl-leaf mountain-mahogany blooming (left) at gravelly-sloped forest openings along the Canyon Mountain Trail, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness........May 29, 2014. The photo at right shows curl-leaf mountain-mahogany blooming atop a rocky knoll just uphill to the north of the entrance to the Ochoco Forest Camp, Ochoco National Forest.........April 30, 2016.
- -Close-ups of the plumed achenes of curl-leaf mountain mahogany as photographed on the ridge above Jackman Park, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon..........August 31, 2011.
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