Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - March 25, 2015

From: Kernersville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Does Wax Myrtle Have a Taproot?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Does a wax myrtle have a taproot?

ANSWER:

Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)  is 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. 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.

The USDA factsheet on wax myrtle says that this plant is easy to transplant bare root which suggests that it is not have much of a taproot (if any). Also wax myrtle spreads by sending up suckers from the roots and has been frequently used as a bonsai plant (more evidence that it has a fibrous root system).

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Shrubs Questions

Need help identifying shrub with large thorns in Tennessee.
March 10, 2009 - A shrub?with very large thorns. Main stock of plant woody with a gray and white splotchy bark at base. Branches are green and shiney and have very large heavy thorns spaced several inches apart on...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Request for seeds or cuttings for Malvaceae from French Botanical Garden
September 03, 2011 - hello We create a botanical garden devoted to the Malvaceae, can you help us by sending us seeds or cuttings? friendly the director jean-marie Jolicard botanical garden beaulieu 23170 LÚpaud F...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Evergreen Sumac
December 09, 2015 - I would like to transplant evergreen sumac from my back to the front yard. They are about 6-8 foot tall. I live in El Paso, TX and it gets plenty of sunlight. I am wondering 1) Is November in El Paso,...
view the full question and answer

Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
March 30, 2008 - I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
view the full question and answer

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