Friday, April 29, 2016

The Northern Bayberry - Myrica pensylvanica

The Northern Bayberry - Myrica pensylvanica, is best recognized by its deciduous habit, with white-gray branches and flat coarsely toothed leaves with dots on the lowers surfaces.  The Northern Bayberry grows in a shrub or small tree form and reaches heights of not more then 7 feet.  It is very similar to the Southern Bayberry but differs in habitat and fruit size.  

Image Citation:  Dow Gardens , Dow Gardens,

The range of the Bayberry is from North Carolina on North through Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.  The northern Bayberry is recommended for zones 3-7 and can be readily found at most nurseries or home improvement stores.  It is an easily grown shrub that is very tolerant of drought, excess waters and erosion.   It typically grows in a rounded habit and can colonize in ideal growing conditions.  Most often found growing wild along coastal areas.  There are no known major diseases or pest concerns with the Northern Bayberry.

Image Citation:  Richard Webb,

The leaves of the Bayberry are narrow, broadly oblanceolate, leathery, glossy, bright gray-green leaves (to 4" long) are dotted with resin on the undersides and aromatic when crushed.  Northern Bayberry is a mostly dioecious shrub (male and female flowers appear on separate catkins/plants).  Neither catkin is showy, with only the male flowers displaying any sign of  color which is a drab yellow-green. Flowers on female plants, if pollinated, are followed by attractive clusters of tiny, gray-white fruits in late summer which usually persist through the winter, but are not howy.  The fruits are covered with an aromatic, waxy substance which is used to make bayberry candles, soaps and waxes.  The fruits are attractive to birds.

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