Fuzzy seed pods, ID requested

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rjlittlefield
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Fuzzy seed pods, ID requested

Post by rjlittlefield »

I figure somebody will recognize these right off. Location is Poudre Canyon above Fort Collins, Colorado.

What are they?

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Thanks!

--Rik

Cactusdave
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Post by Cactusdave »

This looks like a species of Clematis. The seeds are very distinctive. In Europe there is a species with similar feathery seeds with the descriptive common name in Britain of 'old man's beard'
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Dave, thanks for the suggestion. I agree that the seed pods look like Clematis. And indeed there is a lot of Clematis in this area. But all the Clematis that I know are vines that grow interleaved with other woody bushes. In this case, the bush was standing alone, no vine in sight, and it was uniformly covered with these seed pods arising directly from woody stems. So I'm thinking not Clematis. I'll be interested to hear what other suggestions come up.

Thanks!

--Rik

Cactusdave
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Post by Cactusdave »

You are probably right, on second look the leaves and structure of the seed head are not particularly Clematis like. I just don't know the plants of North America well enough.
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twebster
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Post by twebster »

These could be a species of mountain mahogoney. This is a favorite browse of deer.
Tom Webster

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bingo -- thanks, Tom!

That's a small group, and judging from the leaf form and habit of the bush, this would be Cercocarpus montanus -- Alderleaf Mountain-mahogany.

Wikipedia notes that "The Alderleaf variety is prominent in the foothills of Colorado but usually remains under 1 meter-3 feet in height because of incessant browsing by elk and deer. This variety of mountain-mahogany is generally located on the south or west facing slopes because it cannot thrive in the shade on the north facing slopes." This particular bush was more like 2 meters high, but it was located in a popular day-use area that I suspect the deer tend to stay away from.

--Rik

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