Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera (Linnaeus) Small  Synonyms: Cerothamnus ceriferus, Cerothamnus pumilus, Myrica cerifera, Myrica cerifera var. pumila, Myrica pumila.

Description:

Maryland's three Morella species are very similar but with a little effort can be easily separated. First off, Wax Myrtle is by far the most common of the three species. It is the only one of the three species to have resinous glands on both sides of the leaves. Northern Bayberry only has resinous glands on the underside of the leaf. Southern Bayberry is very rare in Maryland (less than five populations) and like Northern Bayberry only has resinous dots on the underside of the leaves. To separate the two bayberry species just crush the leaves. If the crushed leaf is very aromatic then it is Northern Bayberry. If the leaves are not aromatic then it is Southern Bayberry. Another difference between the two bayberry species is the twigs of Southern Bayberry are hairy and the twigs of Northern Bayberry are smooth.

Relationships:

An extremely important food source for many bird species that winter along the coast, including Myrtle Warbler and Tree Swallows. Host plant for various moth species including Bayberry Leaftier Moth, Dogwood Borer Moth, Cecropia Moth, Io Moth, Polyphemus Moth, and Little Wife Underwing Moth.

There are 211 records in the project database.

View species at Maryland Plant Atlas

Search Google Images

GAALWA FRCLMO HOBABCHA CEPG AA CV CH SM KE QA CN TA DO WI SO WO 
Wax Myrtle in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/18/2017). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Wax Myrtle with fruit in Dorchester Co., Maryland (11/11/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Wax Myrtle growing in Dorchester Co., Maryland (4/2/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Wax Myrtle growing in Dorchester Co., Maryland (4/2/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Wax Myrtle in Charles Co., Maryland (11/4/2014). Photo by Rod Simmons. (MBP list)

The trunk of a large Wax Myrtle at Deal Island, Somerset Co., Maryland (1/20/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Wax Myrtle in Worcester Co., Maryland (4/13/2017). Photo by Marcia Balestri. (MBP list)

The bark of Wax Myrtle in Wicomico Co., Maryland (12/28/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)


View All Images

Use of images featured on Maryland Biodiversity Project is only permitted with express permission of the photographer.

View Bibliography