Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Southern Bayberry/Wax Myrtle
Myrica cerifera

Leaves are simple, alternate, evergreen, about 3 inches long, irregularly toothed, very aromatic when crushed and with yellow glands on both sides. Twigs are gray and glandular. Bark is gray and smooth with horizontal lenticels. The fruit is a blue-white, waxy drupe that was used in candle-making. Form is a shrub or small tree with multiple trunks up to 12 m (40 ft) in height. Southern bayberry is found on a range of sites in the southeastern U.S. and is tolerant of shade. This species is planted as an ornamental. Some say the crushed leaves will repel bugs when rubbed on the skin.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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