Marcus, Joseph A.
Morella cerifera (L.) Small
Wax myrtle, Southern bayberry, Candleberry
Myricaceae (Bayberry Family)
A wispy, 6-12 ft., multi-trunked, evergreen shrub,
southern bayberry or wax myrtle can reach 20 ft. in height. The light olive-green foliage has a spicy fragrance. Pale blue berries occur on female plants in the winter. Handsome gray bark
is almost white on some plants.
from New Jersey west to eastern Oklahoma and east Texas, south through Mexico to Central America as well as through much of the Caribbean, this popular evergreen
ornamental is used for screens, hedges, landscaping, wetland gardens, habitat restoration, and as a source of honey. Essentially a shrub,
it serves as an excellent screen plant, with both standard and dwarf varieties available. Because there are separate male and female plants, if you want berries you must have male plants close enough to the berry-producing female plants for pollination to occur. The leaves are aromatic, with an appealing, piquant fragrance when crushed. Colonists separated the fruits waxy covering in boiling water to make fragrant-burning candles, a custom still followed in some countries.
Image Gallery: 16 photo(s) available
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
AL , AR , DE , FL , GA , HI , LA , MD , MS , NJ , NC , OK , SC , TX , VA , WV Native Distribution:
New Jersey west to southeast Oklahoma and east Texas, south through Florida and the West Indies and through Mexico to Central America Native Habitat:
Moist forest; marshes; fresh to slightly brackish stream banks; swamps USDA Native Status: L48(N), HI(I), PR(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Slightly acidic, moist, deep sands, loams, clays.
Conditions Comments: Requires constant moisture to get established, but both drought- and flood-tolerant once established. If temperature goes below zero degrees F, will defoliate, not releafing until spring. Tolerant of saline conditions and urban confinement within pavement.
A popular, evergreen
for residential landscapes. Use Wildlife:
Berries eaten by many species of birds (Wasowski and Wasowski 1994). Use Other:
Berries can be boiled down to use as candle wax. Fragrant Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Red-Banded Hairstreak Deer Resistant:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: