Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Morella pensylvanica

Northern bayberry, Candleberry

Myricaceae (Bayberry Family)

Morella pensylvanica (Northern bayberry)
Vick, Albert F. W.
A spreading, much-branched shrub, 3-12 ft. tall. Glossy, fragrant gray-green, egg-shaped leaves remain on the plant in the southern part of its range, or turn tan-colored and persist into winter farther north. Green catkins appear before leaves. Clusters of small, round, hard, white berries remain on the female plant all winter.

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9 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Bluish white
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: CT , DE , ME , MD , MA , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , VT , VA , DC
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Along the coast from Nova Scotia to VA, inland to Ohio
Native Habitat: Ledges, wood borders; thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand
Conditions Comments: Bayberry tolerates salt spray and a wide variety of wet to dry, hot to cold growing conditions. Be sure to obtain plants similar to climatic condition in your garden. Both male and female plants are necessary for berries. From NJ to LA, another coastal bayberry occurs, M. heterophylla. It is similar with smaller fruits.


Use Wildlife: Eaten by many winter birds.
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Morella pensylvanica is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Columbia silkmoth
(Hyalophora columbia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-09-08