Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Myrica cerifera L.
- Family: Myrtle (Myrtaceae)
- Flowering: April
- Field Marks: This species differs from others in the genus by its fruits covered with white wax
and its pointed, oblanceolate leaves.
- Habitat: Flatwoods, swamps, low pinelands, wet prairies, bogs, bayheads, low hammocks, pine
savannas, wet hammocks, fencerows.
- Habit: Shrub or small tree up to 30 feet tall.
- Stems: Woody, smooth, gray, sometimes waxy.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, oblanceolate, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base,
toothless or with an occasional tooth, smooth or sometimes hairy on the lower surface, fragrant
when crushed, brown-dotted, up to 3 inches long, up to 3/4 inch wide.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately, either in the axils of the leaves or on old
wood; male flowers in ovoid spikes, the spikes up to 1/2 inch long; female flowers in narrow,
interrupted spikes, the spikes up to 1/2 inch long.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 4-8.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles 2.
- Fruits: Drupes spherical, warty-looking, covered with a white wax, up to 1/8 inch in diameter.
- Notes: The heavy wax on the fruits is used in candle-making. The leaves are very variable on
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