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Santa Catalina Mahogany

One of the rarest trees in North America

Catalina Mahogany Tree

Leaves of Cercocarpus traskiae at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido. Courtesy of Stickpen & Wikimedia Commons.

The Catalina mahogany or Santa Catalina Island mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae) is an evergreen tree or shrub in the Rose family that grows 6 to 15 feet tall and grows naturally nowhere else in the world except on Santa Catalina Island. This species of tree is federally-listed as endangered and is considered one of the rarest trees in North America. At present, only 14 trees of this species are found in the wild and only six of these are determined to be pure Cercocarpus traskiae (not hybrid). Even in 1897, when local island botanist and poet Blanche Trask first discovered the species, only 40 to 50 plants were found.