Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

Problems with a Sherman (Shumard?) Oak from Bixby OK
May 14, 2012 - We have done extensive research on oak fungi/diseases/pests could be affecting our Sherman Oak tree but we are stumped. The leaves are falling off and have some sort of moldy bunch within the leaf it...
view the full question and answer

Native Desert Willow and bunchgrass for Lubbock TX
July 29, 2013 - We live in Lubbock and have decided to try to make our front yard as native as possible. It has been a very difficult process finding native species locally (even the local Aggie nursery sells a lot ...
view the full question and answer

Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
May 30, 2008 - Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?
view the full question and answer

Diagnosis of problem with Parsley hawthorn
August 06, 2007 - I have a Crataegus marshallii (Parsley hawthorn) that is about 3 years old. It leafed out this spring and flowered lightly. As the summer has progressed, though, the leaves have been dropping premat...
view the full question and answer

Planting trees to use carbon dioxide
September 06, 2007 - How many trees must we plant to use carbon dioxide produced by the average American in a year?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.