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Morella cerifera (Linnaeus) Small. Common Wax-myrtle, Southern Bayberry. Phen: Apr; Aug-Oct. Hab: Interdune swales (where often dominant), pocosins, brackish marshes, other wet to moist habitats, now also widely planted (including in the Piedmont) as an ornamental or landscaping shrub and persistent or naturalizing in suburban woodlands. Dist: As a native, widespread in the Coastal Plain of Southeastern United States: NJ south to FL and west to TX; Bahamas; West Indies; Mexico and Central America.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Other Comments: Our most common Morella, and also the largest, sometimes becoming a small tree, to at least 15 m tall and 25 cm DBH. See Morella pumila for a discussion of the controversial taxonomy of Morella cerifera and Morella pumila.

Synonymy: = K3, K4, S13, Va, Weakley & Poindexter (2023) in Weakley et al (2023); = Cerothamnus ceriferus (L.) Small – S; = Myrica cerifera L. – F, G, NcTx, Tx; = Myrica cerifera L. var. cerifera – RAB, Elias (1971b); < Morella cerifera (L.) Small – Il, K1, Mex, Herbert (2005), Wilbur (1994); < Myrica cerifera L. – Ar, C, Fl2, FNA3, GW2, WH3; > Myrica cerifera L. – Tat; > Myrica pusilla Raf. – Tat, misapplied

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: FAC (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FAC
  • Great Plains: FAC (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FAC (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)

Heliophily: 7

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image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Richard LeBlond | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© J.W. Hardin | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Collectors SOS | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Radford, Ahles and Bell | Original Image ⭷

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