World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0001836429
Reproduction Date:

Title: Bayberry  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Fruit, Berry, Shrub, Long Island Sound, Northern Flicker, Misnomer, Clonal colony
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


For the flat panel TVs, see Fujitsu Siemens Computers. For the historical city in Asia Minor, see Myrika.
Female Myrica gale plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Type species
Myrica gale

About 35 species, including:
Myrica adenophora
Myrica californica
Myrica cerifera
Myrica esculenta
Myrica faya
Myrica gale
Myrica hartwegii
Myrica heterophylla
Myrica holdrigeana
Myrica inodora
Myrica integra
Myrica nana
Myrica parvifolia
Myrica pensylvanica
Myrica pilulifera
Myrica pubescens
Myrica rubra
Myrica serrata

Myrica /mɪˈrkə/[2] is a genus of about 35–50 species of small trees and shrubs in the family Myricaceae, order Fagales. The genus has a wide distribution, including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, and missing only from Australia. Some botanists split the genus into two genera on the basis of the catkin and fruit structure, restricting Myrica to a few species, and treating the others in Morella.[3]

Common names include Bayberry, Bay-rum tree, Candleberry, Sweet Gale, and Wax-myrtle. The generic name was derived from the Greek word μυρικη (myrike), meaning "fragrance."[4][5]

The species vary from 1 m shrubs up to 20 m trees; some are deciduous, but the majority of species are evergreen. The roots have nitrogen-fixing bacteria which enable the plants to grow on soils that are very poor in nitrogen content. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 2–12 cm long, oblanceolate with a tapered base and broader tip, and a crinkled or finely toothed margin. The flowers are catkins, with male and female catkins usually on separate plants (dioecious). The fruit is a small drupe, usually with a wax coating.

The type species, Myrica gale, is holarctic in distribution, growing in acidic peat bogs throughout the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere; it is a deciduous shrub growing to 1 m tall. The remaining species all have relatively small ranges, and are mostly warm-temperate.

Myrica faya (Morella faya), native to the volcanic islands of Madeira and the Canary Islands, has become an invasive species on the Hawaiian volcanoes [6] where it was introduced in the 19th century; its ability to fix nitrogen makes it very well adapted to growing on low-nitrogen volcanic soils.

The wax coating on the fruit is indigestible for most birds, but a few species have adapted to be able to eat it, notably the Yellow-rumped Warbler in North America. As the wax is very energy-rich, this enables the Yellow-rumped Warbler to winter further north in cooler climates than any other American warbler if bayberries are present. The seeds are then dispersed in the birds' droppings. Myrica species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail, Emperor Moth, and Winter Moth as well as the bucculatricid leaf-miners Bucculatrix cidarella, Bucculatrix myricae (feeds exclusively on Myrica gale) and Bucculatrix paroptila and the Coleophora case-bearers C. comptoniella, C. pruniella, and C. viminetella.


The wax coating on the fruit of several species, known as Bayberry wax, has been used traditionally to make candles. It was used for that purpose by the eponymous family in the novel The Swiss Family Robinson. The foliage of Myrica gale is a traditional insect repellent, used by campers to keep biting insects out of tents. Several species are also grown as ornamental plants in gardens. The fruit of Myrica rubra is an economically important crop in China, sold fresh, dried, canned, for juice, and for alcoholic beverages. Myrica is used to spice beer and snaps in Denmark.

Selected species

  • Myrica inodora – scentless bayberry
  • Myrica integra
  • Myrica nana A.Chev.
  • Myrica parvifolia
  • Myrica pensylvanica Mirb. – northern bayberry
  • Myrica pilulifera
  • Myrica pubescens
  • Myrica rubra Siebold & Zucc.yang mei, Chinese bayberry, yumberry
  • Myrica serrata[8]

Formerly placed here


External links

  • Monograph on the medicinal and clinical uses of Myrica cerifera:
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.