Myrica pensylvanica (Northern Bayberry) Unity Grown
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Myrica pensylvanica, commonly known as northern bayberry or candleberry, is a medium-sized, broad-leaved evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves, closely related to southern wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera. Growing to a maximum height of 6-10' tall, northern bayberry is a smaller plant than its close southern relatives.
An extremely hardy shrub once established, Myrica pensylvanica can be found in a wide range of habitats thanks to its tolerance of heat and drought as well as poorly-draining, wet, and even salty soils. With more northern ranges than other Myrica species, northern bayberry also has better cold tolerance, though especially cold winters may still cause some defoliation.
Candleberry blooms in late spring, typically around May, and produces small, inconspciuous yellow-green flowers, which eventually turn to the gray-white waxy berries provide Myrica pensylvanica with the name candleberry. Candleberries can be used to make candles, wax seals, and soaps, but are also an excellent food source for a variety of birds, with their waxy coating protecting them from water and heat damage.
Notes: Myrica cerifera is dioecious, meaning that there are male and female plants; males and females must be planted together to produce the best fruiting results.