Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Myrica pensylvanica Loisel.
MYRICACEAE (Sweet Gale Family)
EtymologyMyrica is from myrike, the Greek word for the tamarisk tree, because Tamarix and Myrica are related genera; pensylvanica is Latin for from or of Pennsylvania.
Synonyms (Common Name)Wax-myrtle, Candleberry
DescriptionA deciduous, broad-leaved, colonial shrub of sandy soils and dunes, northern bayberry is occasionally found in acidic fens along the coast. Between 1 1/2 - 6' tall, bayberry is a many-branched shrub with gray bark and aromatic twigs, leaves and berries.
Wetland indicator statusFAC
Plant Height1.5-6 feet
LeavesDeciduous, alternate, entire or with few teeth, 1 1/2 -- 3 1/8" long; narrowly obovate to oblanceolate, with blunt tip, dull green, resin-dotted below; fragrant when crushed.
Flower/InflorescenceMale and female catkins on separate plants; inconspicuous. Male: cylindrical, 1/4-1/2" long, form below leaf branches; female: slender, 1/8-3/8" long.
Flowering PeriodApril-June
FruitBerry-like nutlet, tiny (1/8 - 3/16"), gray-blue, covered with minute hairs and whitish wax; singly or in small clusters on female plants; fragrant; wax used to make candles.
Fruiting PeriodAugust-September.
HabitatDry to moist sandy soils, occasionally peatlands near the coast.
RangeNewfoundland to North Carolina, along the coastal plain; less common inland to Ontario and Ohio.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett