Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - January 29, 2010

From: Myrtle Beach, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Should wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) wood be burned in a fireplace
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Pants, Could you please tell me if Wax Myrtle is a hardwood or softwood? Our neighbor had to cut down his as they had grown into trees from the previous owners. We would like to burn the wood in our fireplace, but won't if it is a softwood-don't want to have creosote build up!

ANSWER:

It is not so much a matter of whether the wood is soft or hard, but what chemical components the sap contains.  The US Forest Service species information for Morella cerifera [syn. Myrica cerifera] (wax myrtle) says: "The stems and foliage of southern bayberry contain large amounts of aromatic compounds that are quite flammable, making it a potential fire hazard."  The berries of the wax myrtle have a visible wax on them that is used to make candles by boiling the berries.  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service under yet another synonym for the plant, Myrica pusilla, says: "Members of the wax myrtle family have resinous dots on their leaves and the leaves are aromatic."  So, given the above information, you would probably be wise not to burn the wood in your fireplace.

 

More Trees Questions

Is a Brandywine Maple messy from Westchester IL
November 06, 2011 - Brandywine Maple: Does this tree produce sap, seeds or flower? As a home owner I can't afford more maintenance with clogged gutters or a sap covered car. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Native trees of Hornsby Bend in Austin, TX
April 10, 2013 - We are looking for a list of the trees occurring along and in the vicinity of the Colorado River at Hornsby Bend circa 1820.
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf blister on live oak tree
September 20, 2007 - Our live oak tree has a bad case of oak leaf blister and is really in need of a trim. Will it hurt the tree if we have it trimmed now? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Need information about planting Red Maples in Houston, TX.
September 22, 2012 - I want to plant some Drummond Red Maples in my front yard. What cultivars would you recommend, and what is the absolute smallest amount of space possible between two of these trees?
view the full question and answer

Removing leaves before transplanting from Miami
August 27, 2009 - What is good idea to remove some leaves before transplanting a plant??
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.