Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Myrica heterophylla Raf.
- Family: Myrtle (Myricaceae)
- Flowering: March-April
- Field Marks: This bayberry differs from all others by its aromatic leaves that are dotted only
on their lower surface.
- Habitat: Bogs, low pinelands, flatwoods, bays, savannas, pocosins.
- Habit: Shrub up to 9 feet tall.
- Stems: Slender, dark brown to nearly black, sometimes gray, hairy when young, usually
becoming rather smooth at maturity.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, evergreen, leathery, aromatic, elliptic to obovate, rounded or
pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, with or without teeth, smooth or sparsely hairy on the
upper surface, usually sparsely hairy and dotted on the lower surface, up to 4 1/2 inches long,
up to 1 1/2 inches wide; leaf stalks up to 1/2 inch long.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately, on separate plants, crowded in short spikes.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 2-20.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; stigmas 2.
- Fruits: Drupes spherical to ovoid, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, usually covered with white or
- Notes: This species is also known as swamp candleberry. The leaf shape and degree of leaf
toothing are variable. The wax from the berries was added to candle wax during colonial times
to give candies a pleasant odor when lit.
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