Wax myrtle or Bayberry :Morella cerifera

Kingdom : Plant
   Phylum : Magnoliophyta
          Class : Magnoliopsida
               Order : Myricales
                    Family : Myricaceae
                         Genus : Morella
                              Species : cerifera (L.) Small

Common names: Wax myrtle or bayberry


Dioecious or monoecious shrubs or small trees with brown to brownish black pubescent to glabrate twigs.
Leaves deciduous to semi-evergreen, leathery, oblanceolate to elliptic, to 8 cm long and 2 cm wide, heavily resinous on both surfaces with amber to brown dots. Leaves are usually pubescent beneath, acute or obtuse, serrate to entire, base cuneate to attenuate, petioles to 1 cm.
Leaves and seeds of wax myrtle, Photo by David Byres Staminate catkins ovoid-cylindric, .6-2 cm long, 4-6 mm in diameter, stamens 2-17, mostly 2-5. Pistillate catkins ovoid to cylindric, 5-10 mm long. Fruit drupe-like, white, waxy, globose, warty surface, 2.5-7 mm in diameter.
Growth is clonal. Several stems may grow from a common root. Underground runners extend the clone.

Inhabits a wide variety of sites including fresh to slightly brackish banks, shores, flats, interdune areas, pine savannahs, flatwoods, cypress-gum ponds, swamps, wet hammocks, upland mixed woods, fence rows and hedge rows. It is the most common shrub in longleaf pine-slash pine community.


Coastal plain from southern New Jersey to south Florida, west to east Texas and southeastern Oklahoma to Arkansas, West Indies, Bermuda, Cuba, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, British West Indies, Mexico, Central America to Costa Rico

wax myrtle, Photo by David Byres