A deciduous, dioecious shrub with a rounded habit and semi-evergreen, leathery leaves which are pleasantly aromatic when crushed. A mostly dioecious shrub (male and female flowers appear in separate catkins on separate plants). Neither catkin is showy, with only the male flowers displaying color (drab yellowish-green). Flowers on female plants, if pollinated, are followed by attractive clusters of tiny, grayish-white fruits in late summer which usually persist through the winter, but are not particularly showy. The fruits are covered with an aromatic, waxy substance which is used to make bayberry candles, soaps and sealing wax.
Shrubs tend to sucker, and may form sizable colonies in optimum growing conditions. Per the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, one male can pollinate up to four females.
Fruit is attractive to birds. Attracts butterflies.
Height: 5-10 ft.
Spread: 5-10 ft.
Bloom time: May
Sun: full sun to part shade
Water: dry to medium
Hedge, naturalize, rain garden
According to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Morella sp. are deer resistant.
photo credit: Forest en Kim Starr