Deciduous shrub growing up to 12 feet tall with dark green leaves on the top and silver on the bottom. Severe drought, changes of climate and poor soil may stunt growth. Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany has grayish, scaly bark. Twigs are spur-like and a bright reddish brown. Inconspicuous flowers bloom in the spring. Following the flowers, the tree produces wispy, hairy plumes that spiral. This native tree prefers full sun and well-drained soils.