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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Myricaceae | Myrica

6. Myrica pensylvanica Mirbel in H. Duhamel du Monceau et al., Traité Arbr. Arbust. Nouv. ed. 2. : 190. 1804.

Northern bayberry, waxberry, tallow bayberry, small waxberry, tallowshrub, swamp candleberry, candlewood, candletree, tallowtree, myrique de Pennsylvanie

Cerothamnus pensylvanica (Mirbel) Moldenke; Myrica cerifera Linnaeus var. frutescens Castiglioni; M. macfarlanei Youngken

Shrubs or rarely small trees, deciduous, rhizomatous, colonial, to 2(-4.5) m. Branchlets reddish brown and gland-dotted when young, becoming whitish gray in age, otherwise densely pilose; glands yellow. Leaf blade aromatic when crushed, oblanceolate to elliptic, occasionally obovate, 2.5-6.5(-7.8) × 1.5-2.7 cm, usually membranous, less often leathery, base cuneate to attenuate, margins sometimes entire, usually serrate distal to middle, apex obtuse to rounded, sometimes acute, short-apiculate; surfaces abaxially pale green, pilose on veins, moderately to densely glandular, adaxially dark green, pilose (especially along midrib), glandless or sparsely glandular; glands yellow-brown. Inflorescences: staminate 0.4-1.8 cm; pistillate 0.3-1.4 cm. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on different plants. Staminate flowers: bract of flower shorter than staminal column, margins opaque, apically ciliate or completely glabrous, usually abaxially glabrous, occasionally densely pilose; stamens mostly 3-4. Pistillate flowers: bracteoles persistent in fruit, 4, not accrescent or adnate to fruit wall, margins slightly ciliate or glabrous, abaxially usually densely gland-dotted; ovary wall densely hirsute near apex, otherwise glabrous. Fruits globose-ellipsoid, 3.5-5.5 mm; fruit wall and warty protuberances hirsute, at least when young, hairs usually obscured by thick coat of white wax.

Flowering spring-early summer, fruiting late summer-fall. Coastal dunes, pine barrens, pine-oak forests, old fields, bogs, edges of streams, ponds, and swamps; 0-325 m; St. Pierre and Miquelon; N.B., Nfld., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Conn., Del., Maine, Md., Mass., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Va.

Where their ranges overlap, Myrica pensylvanica hybridizes quite readily with both M . cerifera and M . heterophylla . This ease of hybridization obviously contributes to an already complicated taxonomic situation; it is a matter for further field-based investigation.


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