Wax Myrtle, Morella cerifera Synonym: Myrica cerifera
side image of gopher tortoise opening its mouth. Figure 4 from  Wildlife of Florida Factsheet: Gopher Tortoise: WEC396/UW441, 8/2018
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Dune Restoration Plants
Myricaceae (taxonomic family)

How to Cite

Miller, Debbie, Mack Thetford, Chris Verlinde, Gabriel Campbell, and Ashlynn Smith. 2018. “Wax Myrtle, Morella Cerifera Synonym: Myrica Cerifera: SGEB-75-15/SG176, 9/2018”. EDIS 2018 (5). Gainesville, FL. https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-sg176-2018.


Wax myrtle is one the most widespread plants in Florida, and it is found in coastal states west to Texas and north to New Jersey. The wax found around seeds can be melted down to make candles. The fruits of wax myrtle are important for birds and other wildlife, and the plant is a larval host for the banded hairstreak and redbanded hairstreak butterflies (Satyrium calanus and Calycopis cecrops, respectively) (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017). Wax myrtle has been shown to contribute substantial nitrogen addition to soils via symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing microorganisms residing in soils (Permar and Fisher 1983).

This publication is derived from information in SGEB-75/SG156, Dune Restoration and Enhancement for the Florida Panhandle, by Debbie Miller, Mack Thetford, Christina Verlinde, Gabriel Campbell, and Ashlynn Smith. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/sg156.

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Krochmal, A. 1974. "Myrica L. Bayberry." In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook no. 450. Washington: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. pp. 548-550.

Lumban Tobing, S.T. 2009. "Germination and establishment of woody species with barrier island interdunal swales." Master's thesis. University of Florida.

Lotts, Kelly, and Thomas Naberhaus, coordinators. 2017. Butterflies and Moths of North America. http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

Miller, D.L., M. Thetford, and M. Schneider. 2008. "Distance from the Gulf influences survival and growth of three barrier island dune plants." Journal of Coastal Research 24(3):261-266. https://doi.org/10.2112/07-0914.1

Permar, T.A., and R.F. Fisher. 1983. "Nitrogen fixation and accretion by wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) in slash pine (Pinus elliottii) plantations." Forest Ecology and Management 5(1):39-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-1127(83)90067-1

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.