Family: Rosaceae – Rose Family
Shrubs; 1.65' to 6.6' (0.5 to 2 m) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; entire, curled, or toothed; can have hairs; 0.12” to 0.72” (3 to 18 mm) long, 0.032” to 0.06” (0.8 to 1.4 mm) wide
Flowers: 0 petals, 5 whitish, brownish, purplish sepals; 10 to 20 stamens, 1 pistil; radially symmetrical; cup-like base to flower; perfect - bisexual; flowers in small clusters; flowers 0.128” to 0.348” (3.2 to 8.7 mm) long
Pollinators: other Cercocarpus species are pollinated by insects
Fruits: achenes – one sided fruit; seed inside can have “feathery” tail. Rose hips contain several achenes.
Fruit provides food for wildlife. Some plants in this family are important wildlife browse, but some have a tendency to accumulate cyanide.
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: rocky areas and slopes in desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Windows road, Windows primitive loop, Delicate Arch Viewpoint
Other: The genus name, “Cercocarpus”, is from the Greek “kerkos” meaning “tail” and “carpos” meaning “fruit” and refers to the long feathery tails of the fruits. The species name, “intricatus”, means “entangled”.
The family is large and complex and some botanists think it should be divided into more than 1 family. The family is held together by the presence of the hypanthium (a cup-shaped structure on which the calyx, corolla, and often the stamens are inserted).