Shrubs or small trees with entire, dentate or lobed, mostly resinous-dotted leaves, our species usually dioecious. Staminate aments oblong or narrowly cylindric, expanding before or with the leaves. Stamens 4-8. Pistillate aments ovoid or subglobose; ovary subtended by 2-4, mostly short, deciduous or persistent bractlets. Drupe globose or ovoid, its exocarp waxy. {Ancient Greek name of the Tamarisk.! Type species, Myrica Gale L.

Besides the following species, another occurs in the Southern States and 2 on the Pacific coast.

Bractlets of pistillate aments persistent, clasping the drupes; low bog shrub.


M. Gale.

Bractlets of pistillate aments deciduous, the ripe drupes separated.

Leaves mostly acute, narrow; drupe less than 1" in diameter.


M. cerifera.

Leaves mostly obtuse, broader; drupe 1"-1 1/2" in diameter.


M. carolinensis.

1. Myrica Gale L. Sweet Gale

Fig. 1435

Myrica Gale L. Sp. PI. 1024. 1753.

A shrub, usually strictly dioecious, the twigs dark brown. Leaves oblanceolate, obtuse and dentate at the apex, narrowed to a cuneate entire base, short-petioled, dark green and glabrous above, pale and puberulent or glabrous beneath, 1'-2 1/2' long, 5"-10" wide, unfolding after the aments; staminate aments linear-oblong, 6"-10" long, crowded; pistillate aments ovoid-oblong, obtuse, about 4" long and 2" in diameter in fruit, their bracts imbricated; drupe resinous-waxy, not longer than the 2 ovate persistent bractlets, which clasp it and are adnate to its base.

In swamps and along ponds and streams, Newfoundland to Alaska, southern New York, Virginia, Michigan and Washington. Also in Europe and Asia. Ascends to 3000 ft. in the Adirondacks. Fern or scotch-gale. Sweet willow. Bay-bush. Meadow-fern. Golden osier. Moor-, bog-, Dutch- or Burton-myrtle. April-May.

1 Myrica Gale L Sweet Gale 1435

2. Myrica Cerifera L. Wax-Myrtle

Fig. 1436

Myrica cerifera L. Sp. PI. 1024. 1753-

A slender tree, or a shrub, maximum height about 400, trunk diameter 11 /2°, the bark gray, nearly smooth. Leaves narrow, oblong or oblanceolate, mostly acute at the apex, entire or sparingly dentate, narrowed or somewhat cuneate at the base, fragrant when crushed, short-petioled, dark green above, paler and sometimes pubescent beneath; golden-resinous, l'-3' long, 3"-9" wide, unfolding with or before the aments; staminate aments cylindric; pistillate aments short, oblong; ripe drupes separated, globose, bluish-white, waxy, less than 1" in diameter, tipped with the minute base of the style, long-persistent, the bracts and bract-lets deciduous.

In sandy swamps or wet woods, southern New Jersey to Florida and Texas, north to Arkansas. Also in the West Indies. March-April. Leaves mostly persistent through the winter. Wood light, brown; weight per cubic foot 35 lbs. Waxberry. Tallow-bayberry. Candleberry. Tallow-shrub. Sweet oak. Candleberry-myrtle.

2 Myrica Cerifera L Wax Myrtle 1436

3. Myrica Carolinensis (Mill.). Small Waxberry. Bayberry

Fig. 1437

Myrica carolinensis Mill. Gard. Diet. Ed. 8, no. 3. 1768.

A shrub, 2°-8° high, with smooth gray bark, the twigs glabrous or often pubescent. Leaves oblanceolate or obovate, glabrous above, often pubescent beneath, resinous, 2'-4 long, 6"-18" wide, serrate with a few low teeth above the middle, or entire, obtuse or sometimes acute at the apex, narrowed at the base, short-petioled; staminate aments cylindric or oblong, 3"-9" long; pistillate aments short, oblong; ripe drupes separated, globose, bluish white, very waxy, \"-\\" in diameter, long-persistent, the bracts and bract-lets deciduous.

In dry or moist sandy soil, Nova Scotia to Florida and Louisiana and on the shores of Lake Erie. Occurs also in bogs in northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. April-May. The fruit was much used as a source of wax by the early settlers of the eastern United States, and is still utilized along the coast of New England.

3 Myrica Carolinensis Mill Small Waxberry Bayberry 1437