Morella pensylvanica  (Mirb.) Kartesz - Northern Bayberry


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Morella pensylvanica - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Myricaceae


Dry hills and shores. Most frequent along the Atlantic coast.




Along the coast from Newfoundland to NC, inland to PA, OH, and Ontario.


Spreading shrub to 2 m. Leaves deciduous, with resinous glands, oblanceolate to elliptic, entire or shallowly toothed near the rounded, minutely apiculate tip. Staminate catkins cylindric with quadrate bracts; pistillate catkins slender with ovate bracts; ovary densely hairy. Fruit a rounded nutlet, solitary or clusters, covered in a thick, whitish wax and dense, short hairs.


Flowers May or June

Wetland indicator: Facultative

The leaves can be used as a replacement for commercial bay leaves. The aromatic, waxy fruits can be boiled and the extracted wax made into candles.

Synonymous with Myrica pensylvanica Mirb.



Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.





 Michael Hough 2009