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Myrica pennsylvanica - Loisel.
                 
Common Name Northern Bayberry
Family Myricaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards There is a report that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic[222].
Habitats Dry or wet sterile soil near the coast[43]. Coastal dunes, pine barrens, pine-oak forests, old fields, bogs, edges of streams, ponds, and swamps from sea level to 325 metres[270].
Range Eastern N. America. Possibly naturalized in Britain in the New Forest.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
UPDATE 16/11/2011. This plant was originally in the database as Myrica pensylvanica. Myrica pennsylvanica Lam. is a synonym of Myrica caroliniensis Mill.

Myrica pennsylvanica Northern Bayberry


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Myrica pennsylvanica Northern Bayberry
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Myrica pennsylvanica is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms
M. carolinensis. non Mill. M. cerifera latifolia.

Habitats
Edible Uses
Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is about 4mm in diameter and contains a single large seed[200]. There is very little edible flesh and this is of poor quality[K]. The leaves and fruit are used as a food flavouring in soups etc[62, 102, 183]. A bay leaf substitute, imparting a delicate aroma and subtle flavour[183]. The herb is removed before the food is served[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



The root bark is astringent and emetic in large doses[222]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and externally as a wash for itchy skin[222].
Other Uses
A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles[46, 106, 171]. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather[213]. They are slightly aromatic, with a pleasant balsamic odour[245], and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles[213]. The wax is also used in making soaps[213]. A green dye is obtained from the leaves[106]. The plant is very wind hardy and can be grown as an informal hedge[200].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Industrial Crop: Wax;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop.

Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade[200]. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil[11]. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil[1]. Does well in dry maritime sites[200]. Hardy to about -40°c[200]. Closely related to M. cerifera and perhaps no more than a hardier northern form of it[11], it has larger fruits than M. cerifera[182]. Where their ranges overlap, Myrica pensylvanica hybridizes quite readily with both M . cerifera and M . Heterophylla[270]. Tolerant of salt spread on roads[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good[78]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring[200]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

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Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Comptonia peregrinaSweet Fern33
Comptonia peregrina asplenifoliaSweet Fern33
Melaleuca leucadendraPaperbark, Weeping Paperbark24
Myrica californicaCalifornian Bayberry, California Wax Myrtle, California Barberry31
Myrica ceriferaWax Myrtle - Bayberry Wild Cinnamon, Southern Bayberry, Wax Myrtle, Southern Wax Myrtle33
Myrica galeBog Myrtle, Sweetgale22
Myrica heterophyllaBayberry32
Myrica nagiBox Myrtle23
Myrica rubraChinese Bayberry22
Myricaria elegans 01
Myricaria germanica 01
Myricaria squamosa 02
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Expert comment
 
Author
Loisel.
Botanical References
11200270
Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Pat M.
Aug 4 2014 12:00AM
I planted myrica pensylvanica in my shrub & flower bed with a northern exposure and it has done so well I've now removed it (an all of its offshoots) to plant in a field. It spreads by rhizomes and has come up through other plants. In a mild winter in my Canadian Zone 4-5 garden, it maintains its leaves through the winter but will lose them in a cold one.
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