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Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Wax Myrtle is an evergreen tree that may grow 20 to 25 feet tall, but usually is much shorter. The leaves are alternate with a toothed margin, aromatic odor, and yellow resin dots on both surfaces. The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown. In spring, small male and female slim, cylindrical flowers mature. The small tree produces a bluish-white drupe that matures in clusters on short stalks. Some populations are dioecious and some are monoecious, which means that in some cases only the females produce fruit.


Provides excellent winter and extreme weather cover. Host plant for Red-Banded Hairstreak butterfly. Fruits are eaten by birds, especially yellow-rumped warblers (which are very efficient at digesting the waxy fruits), in the fall and winter.

Plant Type Tree 10-30 feet
Leaf Type Evergreen
Deer Resistance High
Regions Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Light Full Sun, Partial Sun/Shade
Soil Wet, Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Early Spring
Seed Times Fall
Wildlife Value Winter Cover, Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension