Wild Florida Photo - Morella cerifera - Southern Bayberry

Morella cerifera

Southern Bayberry
Wax Myrtle

Synonym(s): Myrica cerifera

Florida native

Flagler Co. FL 10/12/08
Flagler Co. FL 10/12/08
Flagler Co. FL 10/12/08
Flagler Co. FL 10/12/08
Flagler Co. FL 10/12/08

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This common shrub or small tree can be found in hammocks, swamps, cypress domes, flatwoods, upland mixed forests and fresh to only slightly brackish marshes throughout nearly all of Florida. The range extends through the southeastern coastal states from Texas and up the east coast into New Jersey. Also found in West Virginia, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Wax myrtle grows up to 12m (40 ft.), but most frequently seen as a shrub with dense foliage and frequently multiple trunks. Leaves are simple and alternate, 3-15cm (up to 6 in.) long, 1-2cm (~3/8 - 3/4 in.) wide, narrowly oblanceolate and usually toothed towards the tip. The inflorescence is a catkin up to 2cm (~3/4 in.) long in the leaf axils with male and female flowers on separate plants. The numerous fruits are small rounded drupes 2-4mm (~1/8 in.) in diameter.
Wax myrtle is the larval host plant for the little wife underwing moth.
Southern bayberry was previously considered to be Myrica cerifera. The three Florida Myrica species have now been moved to the genus Morella.


Morella cerifera is a member of the Myricaceae - Bayberry family.

Date record last modified: Jul 27, 2022

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com