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

Arborvitae thinning in Bucks County, PA
April 09, 2010 - My arborvitae trees are about 11 ft. tall. I had them put in about 3 years ago. They were 8 to 10 ft. when planted. After the first year, I have noticed they are thinning to the point where you can se...
view the full question and answer

Concerns about swings on trees in Arboretum from San Marcos
June 01, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We very much enjoyed our visit to the new Arboretum this morning! It is already lovely with native species but will really be something with the additions the Wildflower Cent...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Pacific dogwood
November 21, 2015 - When do I plant Pacific dogwood seeds? How deep and far apart should they be planted? The elevation will be around 5k.
view the full question and answer

Trees to replace live oaks in Driftwood TX
February 07, 2012 - I am looking for ideas on what trees to plant in Driftwood, TX to replace live oaks that have been lost to oak wilt.
view the full question and answer

Are fuzzy oak leaf galls harmful to post oak trees?
October 19, 2012 - Are the fuzzy balls on the undersides of our post oak trees harmful?
view the full question and answer

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