Northern Bayberry Morella pensylvanica (Mirbel) Kartesz  Synonyms: Myrica pensylvanica.


Maryland's three Morella species are very similar but with a little effort can be easily separated. First off, Wax Myrtle is by far the most common of the three species. It is the only one of the three species to have resinous glands on both sides of the leaves. Northern Bayberry only has resinous glands on the underside of the leaf. Southern Bayberry is very rare in Maryland (less than five populations) and like Northern Bayberry only has resinous dots on the underside of the leaves. To separate the two bayberry species just crush the leaves. If the crushed leaf is very aromatic then it is Northern Bayberry. If the leaves are not aromatic then it is Southern Bayberry. Another difference between the two bayberry species is the twigs of Southern Bayberry are hairy and the twigs of Northern Bayberry are smooth.


Host plant for a variety of moth species including Little Wife Underwing Moth, Spotted Apatelodes Moth, Io Moth, and Dogwood Borer Moth.

There are 56 records in the project database.

View species at Maryland Plant Atlas

Blooming Northern Bayberry in Wicomico Co., Maryland (5/5/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Northern Bayberry in Worcester Co., Maryland (11/12/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

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