Morella cerifera (L.) Small
  • LEAVES: tardily deciduous, simple, alternate, oblanceolate, usually 1.5-3.5” long by 0.4-0.8” wide, spirally arranged on shoots, reduced in size near tips of branchlets of the season; margins with a few coarse serrations near the apex (sometimes nearly entire); both blade surfaces glabrous, abundantly glandular-punctate with yellow-orange dots; aromatic
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plant dioecious; flowers small, lacking sepals and petals, born in erect, scaly-bracted axillary catkins on shoots of the previous season
  • FRUIT: bluish globose drupe ca. 0.1” broad, surface with white or gray waxy coating
  • TWIGS: leafy twigs brown, glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy; older twigs grayish with nearly circular corky lenticels
  • BARK: gray or grayish green, smooth with conspicuous horizontally oval lenticels
  • FORM: aromatic shrub to small tree, to ca. 40’ tall (rarely encountered this large), usually with multiple stems and branching from near the base
  • HABITAT: weedy plant of a variety of open to slightly shaded sites, including forest edges, old fields, fencerows, pine flatwoods, hummocks in swamps; can occur in slightly brackish areas; an invader of wet coastal prairie and freshwater floatant marsh without adequate fire
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative (FAC): Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US, Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: popular ornamental that is fast growing, has full, practically evergreen foliage, and responds well to pruning; wax from fruit extracted by boiling to make bayberry candles
  • WILDLIFE: normally not a preferred browse by whitetail deer, but browsed heavily in winter where abundant and where other browse is limited
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. large multi-stemmed shrub branching from base; practically evergreen
    2. leaves oblanceolate with a few serrations near apex, aromatic
    3. both leaf surfaces with yellow-orange resinous glands
    4. fruit a small bluish drupe with waxy coating