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Morella cerifera

(Dwarf Wax Myrtle)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in English:

Dwarf Wax Myrtle, Bayberry, Candleberry, Southern Bayberry, Southern Wax-Myrtle, Wax Myrtle, Wax-Myrtle, Waxberry, Waxmyrtle

Common Names in French:

Arbre à Cire

Common Names in German:

Wachsbeerbaum, Wachsmyrte

Common Names in Portuguese:


Common Names in Spanish:

Arrayán, Cera Vegetal


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Family Myricaceae

Trees or shrubs , evergreen or deciduous, monoecious or dioecious, aromatic , often with resinous , peltate glands . Leaves alternate, simple , pinnately veined, entire to irregularly serrate or lobed , rarely pinnatifid ; stipules absent or rarely present. Flowers in spikes, usually unisexual , anemophilous , without perianth. Male flowers solitary in axil of each bract, with 2-4 bracteoles or not. Stamens 2-20, often 4-8 on receptacle at base of bract; filaments short, free or slightly united at base; anthers erect , dithecal , extrorse , dehiscing longitudinally. Female flowers solitary or 2-4 in axil of bract, usually with 2-4 bracteoles. Gynoecium of 2 carpels united into a compound and 1-loculed ovary; styles distinct or united only at base; ovule solitary, basal, erect, orthotropous . Fruit drupaceous , or nearly a nutlet , often with headlike, wax-covered papillae; endocarp hard. Seeds nearly without endosperm; embryo straight; cotyledons fleshy , plano-convex .

Three genera and ca. 50 species: widespread in both hemispheres, mostly in temperate or subtropical regions; one genus and four species (two endemic) in China.[1]

Physical Description

Habit: Tree , Shrub , SubshrubGrowth Form: RhizomatousShape and Orientation: Erect

Flowers: Bloom Period: SpringFlower Color: White • Flower Conspicuous: No

Seeds: Seed per Pound: 84000 • Seed Spread Rate: Moderate • Seedling Vigor: Medium • Fruit/Seed Abundance: High • Fruit/Seed Color: Blue • Fruit/Seed Conspicuous: Yes • Cold Stratification Required: Yes

Foliage: Foliage Color: Green • Foliage Porosity Winter: Moderate • Foliage Texture: CoarseFall Conspicuous: No • Leaf Retention: Yes


Active Growth Period: Spring and Summer • Growth Rate: Moderate • Mature Height (feet): 10.0 • Maximum Height at 20 Years (feet): 10 • Size: 20-30' tall. • Vegetative Spread Rate: Slow • Lifespan: Lifespan


Care: Deer resistant.


Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,085 meters (0 to 6,841 feet).[2]


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Duration: PerennialCoppice Potential: No • Progagated by Bulbs: No • Propagated by Bare Root: Yes • Propagated by Container: Yes • Propagated by Corms: No • Propagated by Cuttings: No • Propagated by Seed: Yes • Propagated by Sod: No • Propagated by Sprigs: No • Propagated by Tubers: No • Fruit/Seed Period Begin: Summer • Fruit/Seed Period End: FallFruit/Seed Persistence: Yes


Culture: Space 10-12' apart.

Soil: Adapted to Medium Textured: Adapted to Medium Textured Soils • Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils: Yes • Anaerobic Tolerance: Medium • Salinity Tolerance: Medium • CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium • Minimum pH: 5.5 • Maximum pH: 7.0 • Fertility Requirement: Low

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun . • Shade Tolerance: Intolerant

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: Medium • Minimum Precipitation: 34 • Maximum Precipitation: 60 • Moisture Use: High

Temperature: Minimum Temperature (F): -3°F. • Minimum Frost Free Days: 155 • Cold Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b. (map)


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Cerothamnus ceriferus (L.) Small • Cerothamnus pumilus (Michx.) Small • Myrica cerifera L. • Myrica cerifera var. pumila Michx. • Myrica pusilla Raf.


Publishing author : Small Publication : Fl. S.E. U.S. [Small]. 337 1903 [22 Jul 1903]

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Morella

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 14 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

M. californica (California Bayberry) · M. carolinensis (Southern Bayberry) · M. carolinensis'Robbie Green' (Robbie Green Southern Bayberry) · M. caroliniensis (Evergreen Bayberry) · M. cerifera (Dwarf Wax Myrtle) · M. cerifera'Suwanee Elf' (Suwanee Elf Wax Myrtle) · M. cordifolia (Waxberry) · M. faya (Candleberry Myrtle) · M. holdridgeana (Palo De Cera) · M. inodora (Odorless Bayberry) · M. pensylvanica (Northern Bayberry) · M. pensylvanica 'Wildwood' (Northern Bayberry) · M. rubra (Chinese-Arbutus) · M. 'Suwannee Elf' (Dwarf Wax Myrtle)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 25, 2007:



  1. Anmin Lu & Allan J. Bornstein "Myricaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 275. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Mean = 348.350 meters (1,142.881 feet), Standard Deviation = 597.000 based on 948 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06