Mountain Mahogany, also known as Birchleaf Mahogany or Alderleaf Mahogany, is a long-lived, evergreen small tree or shrub from 3 to 15 feet tall which grows over a large portion of the western United States and northern Mexico. It is mostly found in desert mountain areas in often times solid stands, as well as in mixtures with sagebrush, mountain shrub lands and pinyon-juniper woodlands. It is also found in openings of ponderosa pine, conifer and aspen forests. The mature bark is smooth and light gray or white, and the leaves are dark green. It has long tap roots which penetrate deep into the soil and rock crevices. Mountain Mahogany provides valuable winter forage and shelter for wildlife, with plants often appearing hedged from heavy browsing. It can also assist in the restoration of naturally occurring and human-caused infertile soils on disturbed sites. Mountain Mahogany is excellent as a tough screen or accent plant (can be trimmed as a bonsai), and is an overall attractive plant for dry areas. It grows best in full sun and on well-drained soils. The primary seed dispersal is by wind, however, seeds are also gathered and cached by rodents. Seed hairs can attach to eyes and skin, causing considerable discomfort and is the basis for the cowboy moniker ""hell feathers"". Seedling vigor is fair and growth rate is slow to moderate. Plants reach maturity in 5 to 15 years.