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Morella californica (Cham. & Schlecht.) Wilbur
California wax myrtle, Pacific bayberry
Synonyms: Myrica californica
USDA Symbol: moca6
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
California wax myrtle is a tree-like, densely bushy evergreen shrub with glossy, dark-green, narrow leaves. The 10-25 ft., aromatic shrub has slender, ascending branches. Spring catkins are followed by brown-purple fruit.
Pacific Wax-myrtle is sometimes planted as an ornamental shrub for the showy berries and dense, shiny evergreen foliage. The fruit is eaten in small quantities by myrtle warblers and many other birds. The waxy covering of the fruit apparently is not used; colonists extracted the wax from related eastern bayberries or wax-myrtles in boiling water and made fragrant-burning candles.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Size Notes:
6-30 feet tall, 10-20 feet wide.
Dark Green Flower:
Purple berries. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
CA , OR , WA Canada: BC Native Distribution:
Coastal areas from c. CA to WA & Vancouver I., B.C. Native Habitat:
Canyons & moist slopes below 500 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Soil Description:
Moist, well-drained, slightly acid sands or loams. Conditions Comments:
tolerates beach wind.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Good for hedges.
Use Wildlife: Attracts Eastern Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Wood Thrush (Audubon At Home).
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Red-banded Hairstreak
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationDescription: California wax myrtle can be increased by seeds, cuttings, or by layering.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff