Morella caroliniensis (f. Myrica pensylvanica)
Northern bayberry is a strongly aromatic shrub that thrives in sandy soil. Honestly, forget the soil, this shrub grows in straight sand and is highly useful for stabilizing dunes.
Identifiable by its scent, it also produces waxy berries that are a valuable food source for wildlife late into the winter. As it is so well suited to oceanside locations, bayberry is highly salt and drought tolerant, making it a fantastic plant for a sunny roadside.
You will want to use a bit of care when planting bare root or potted specimins as they are susceptible to competion. Clearing the area of weeds and mulching can help the plants take hold. Morella caroliniensis is a dioecious species which means male and female plants are needed within a reasonable distance in order to bear fruit. Since plants can’t be sexed until year 3-4, plan on installing at least a few different plants to try and get at least 20% male/female ratio.
Bayberry has a plethora of historical uses from candle making, fabric dyeing, medicinal, and current pharmaceutical usage.
ECO-TYPE: Some are local eco-type and some are grown from seed collected in New Hampshire. Started by New Hampshire State Forest Nursery.
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Photo 2 courtsey of Dan Wilder
Morella caroliniensis (Small bayberry)
SIZE: 1 gallon pot type: shrub sun needs: full sun, part sun/part shade water needs: dry, average height: 7-10' plant spacing: 5' distance bloom time: April, May, June bloom color: white
Edible parts: leaves can be substituted for bay leaves salt tolerant. Some salt exposure should not be fatal to the plant but some leaf burning may still occur. evergreen