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Morella pumila (Michaux) Small. Dwarf Bayberry, Dwarf Wax-myrtle. Phen: Mar-Apr; Aug-Oct. Hab: Pine savannas, pine flatwoods, relatively moist to extremely dry sites in sandhills (under Quercus laevis and Q. geminata). Dist: A Southeastern Coastal Plain endemic: se. VA south to s. FL and west to e. TX.

Origin/Endemic status: Endemic

Taxonomy Comments: Some authors dismiss the distinction between this taxon and Morella cerifera as merely environmental, while others treat the two as distinct at the varietal or specific level. In our area at least, they appear to be genetically distinct. They often occur in close proximity (though their typical habitats differ, they can be seen side by side in wet spodosolic pine savannas, sometimes also intermixed with Morella caroliniensis), and maintain their distinctiveness. There are some observations that there is a phenologic difference, with Morella pumila peak flowering 3 weeks later than Morella cerifera (J. Townsend, pers. comm., 2002; Mohr 1901; A. Weakley, 2018). Though the issue remains unresolved, the stoloniferous growth of Morella pumila is not merely a fire response; I here maintain the two as distinct, pending further research.

Synonymy: = K3, K4, Va; = Cerothamnus pumilus (Michx.) Small – S; = Morella pusilla (Raf.) Weakley & D.B.Poind. – Weakley & Poindexter (2023) in Weakley et al. (2023, in press); = Myrica cerifera L. var. pumila Michx. – RAB, Elias (1971b); = Myrica pusilla Raf. – F, G, Tx; < Morella cerifera (L.) Small – K1, Herbert (2005), Wilbur (1994); < Myrica cerifera L. – C, Fl2, FNA3, GW2, WH3

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image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Weakley source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Weakley source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Weakley source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷