Wax Myrtle

View Current Availabilities

Morella cerifera

A shrub or small, multi-trunked tree to 20 feet tall and a trunk to 6" in diameter, with an open crown of light green foliage.

Range/Site Description:
Streambanks, swamps, and seasonally wet areas in East Texas. Also used extensively as a landscape shrub or tree for parking lots, commercial, and residential landscapes throughout East and Central Texas.

Simple, alternate, 2" to 4" long and 0.5" to 0.75" wide, obovate, with a few sharp teeth along the upper half of the leaf margin. Leaves are evergreen, light green in color, and shiny above.

Male and female flowers on separate trees. Male flowers appear along the twigs in spring as short, 0.5"long, yellowish catkins; female flowers similare in size and shape to the male flowers, but reddish.

A round, light green drupe, about 0.1" to 0.2" in diameter, clustered along the twigs, each fruit covered with a thick coating of whitish wax.

Smooth, gray, blotched on older trunks, developing shallow fissures on only the largest trunks.

Bayberry candles are made from the wax; the bark and leaves reportedly have medicinal properties. Also used extensively as a landscape shrub or small tree.

Similar Species:
Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) loses its leaves in the fall and has dull teeth (or none) along the leaf margins.

Interesting Facts:
Waxmyrtle or bayberry leaves cann be used for seasoning meats, sauces, soups, stews and as a tea. The fruits have can be used for making candles for the wax and fragrance.