Shrubs with monoecious or dioecious flowers, both sterile and fertile ones collected in short catkins or heads. Leaves with resinous dots, usually fragrant. Fruit a 1-seeded dry drupe or little nut, usually coated with little waxy grains.
1. Myri'ca. Flowers chiefly dioecious, catkins lateral, each bract with a pair of bractlets underneath. Stamens in the sterile flowers 2-8. Ovary solitary in the fertile flowers, 1-celled, tipped with 2 thread-like stigmas, and surrounded by 2-4 small scales at the base. In our species the 2 scales form wings at the base of the nut. - A shrub, 3-5 feet high.
2. Compto'nia. A low shrub, a foot or more in height, with fern-like very sweet-scented leaves. Flowers monoecious. Sterile catkins cylindrical. Fertile ones spherical, the ovary surrounded by 8 awl-shaped persistent scales, so that the catkin resembles a bur.
1. M. Ga'le, L. (Sweet Gale.) Leaves wedge-lanceolate, serrate towards the apex, pale. The small nuts in crowded heads, and winged by the 2 scales. - Bogs.
2. M. cerif'era, L. (Bayberry. Wax-Myrtle.) Leaves oblong-lanceolate, entire, or wavy-toothed towards the apex, shining and sprinkled with resinous dots on both sides, fragrant. Sterile catkins scattered. Nuts naked. bony, and covered with white wax. - Sandy soil near the coast, Atl. Prov.
Solander. Sweet-Fern. C. asplenifo'lia, Ait. (Myrica asplenifolia, Endl., in Macoun's Catalogue.) Leaves linear-lanceolate in outline, deeply pinnatifid, the lobes numerous and rounded. - Dry soil; especially in Pine barrens.