Dwarf Wax-myrtle (Morella pumila)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Myricales>Myricaceae>Morella pumila (Michaux) Small

Dwarf Wax-myrtle/Bayberry (Morella/Myrica pumila)

This small shrub is fairly common in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Similar to its much larger and more common sister species Morella cerifera (Common Wax-myrtle), Dwarf Wax-myrtle is stoloniferous (spreading by underground runners) and usually grows less than 3 feet tall. The evergreen leaves of this delicate shrub are about half the length and width of those of Common Wax-myrtle. Like Common Wax-myrtle, the leaves are spicily fragrant when rubbed, but to my nose the fragrance is noticably different.

Bladen Co., NC 3/25/07.

Dwarf Wax-myrtle/Bayberry (Morella/Myrica pumila)

Developing staminate (male) catkins.

Also known as Myrica pumila, Myrica pusilla, or Cerothamnus pumilus. Dwarf Wax-myrtle is also called Dwarf Bayberry and is sometimes lumped with Common Wax-myrtle in Morella/Myrica cerifera.

Bladen Co., NC 3/25/07.

Dwarf Wax-myrtle/Bayberry (Morella/Myrica pumila)

Detail of leaf underside, showing the yellow resin glands.

Bladen Co., NC 3/25/07.

Dwarf Wax-myrtle/Bayberry (Morella/Myrica pumila) flowers

Male catkins. Photograph of a pressed specimen by Richard LeBlond.

Angola Creek Flatwoods, Pender Co., NC 4/16/08.

More information:
USDA NCRS fact sheet

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Revised 5/15/08 cwcook@duke.edu

All photographs and text ©2008 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.