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Myrica caroliniensis is often confused with:
Myrica cerifera Myrica cerifera
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Myrica cerifera Myrica cerifera
Juniperus virginiana Juniperus virginiana
Ilex glabra Leaves

Swamp Bayberry Myrica caroliniensis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Myrica heterophylla
Phonetic Spelling
mur-EYE-kuh kair-oh-lin-ee-EN-sis
Description

Bayberry is an evergreen shrub that may grow 6 to 8 feet tall. The leaves are alternate with a toothed margin and aromatic odor. Leaves are wider than on M. cerifera. The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown. In spring, small male and female slim, cylindrical flowers mature. The small tree produces a bluish-white drupe that matures in clusters on short stalks. Only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Compare this Plant to: M. cerifera M. pensylvanica

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#deciduous#wildlife plant#native shrub#cover plant#wet sites#food source#NC native#screening#larval host plant#cover#food source fall#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#deciduous#wildlife plant#native shrub#cover plant#wet sites#food source#NC native#screening#larval host plant#cover#food source fall#fruits#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Myrica
    Species:
    caroliniensis
    Family:
    Myricaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Pennsylvania to Eastern Texas
    Distribution:
    Primarily in coastal plains of SE US
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides excellent winter and extreme weather coverage. It is a host plant for the Red-banded Hairstreak butterfly. Its fruits are eaten by birds, especially yellow-rumped warblers (which are very efficient at digesting the waxy fruits), in the fall and winter.
    Edibility:
    Leaves can be used like bay leaves to flavor soups, stews, etc.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gray/Silver
    White
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Description:
    Small white to grey globose fruit.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Small male and female slim cylindrical flowers
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    glossy dark green leaves
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Thin, smooth and gray/brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wet Soil