northern bayberry Myricaceae Morella
pensylvanica (Mirb.) Kartesz symbol: MOPE6
Leaf: Alternate, deciduous to semi-evergreen, simple, fragrant, obovate to ovate with a tapered base, to 4 inches long, often toothed near the tip but may be entire, dark green and waxy-shiny above, sometimes pubescent, pale green below, yellow resin dots on lower surface only.
Flower: Species is dioecious; both male and female flowers are small (1/2 inch), appearing as catkins in the leaf axils in spring, before the leaves.
Fruit: Round, initially pubescent, becoming waxy bluish-white drupes (1/8 inch+ in diameter), appearing in clusters on short stalks, ripening in late summer and persisting.
Twig: Slender and brittle, reddish brown but appearing gray to white with pubescence, becoming smooth and gray-brown with age.
Bark: Thin and smooth, gray-brown.
Form: Usually a rounded shrub, commonly to 10 feet but may reach 30 feet.
Looks like: sweetgale - waxmyrtle
Additional Range Information: Morella pensylvanica is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting northern bayberry.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson