Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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MYRICACEAE

WAX MYRTLE FAMILY

James R. Shevock

Shrubs, trees, aromatic, evergreen or deciduous, generally monoecious or dioecious, generally with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in roots
Leaves simple, alternate, entire to pinnately lobed, resin-dotted; stipules generally 0
Inflorescence: spike, axillary, catkin-like; staminate and pistillate spikes separate
Flower generally unisexual, small; perianth 0
Staminate flower generally subtended by 2 bractlets
Pistillate flower subtended by 2–4 bractlets; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, stigmas 2, short
Fruit: generally drupe or nut, small, rough, waxy, sometimes winged or bur-like from fused bractlets
Genera in family: 3 genera, ± 50 species: generally temp, subtropical. Comptonia of e North America, Canacomyrica of New Caledonia each have 1 sp. Fr of some Myrica are boiled to produce fragrant wax.

MYRICA

Shrubs, small trees, monoecious or dioecious (flowers all unisexual)
Leaf ± spicy-scented; blade unlobed, distal half generally ± sharply serrate
Fruit generally ± spheric, sometimes compressed
Species in genus: ± 48 species: temp, subtropical
Etymology: (Greek: old name for a fragrant shrub)

Native

M. hartwegii S. Watson

SIERRA SWEET BAY

Shrub, 1–2 m, deciduous
Leaf generally ± widely oblanceolate, sparsely puberulent, dull green, lighter beneath; tip generally obtuse to rounded
Staminate flower: stamens 2–4, anthers almost hidden by subtending bractlets
Fruit many per pistillate inflorescence, generally < 2 mm diam, generally dotted with tiny, ± orange resin glands; whitish wax inconspicuous
Ecology: Streambanks, other moist places in foothills or low montane yellow-pine forest
Elevation: 300–1500 m.
Bioregional distribution: n&c Sierra Nevada
Horticultural information: IRR or WET: 4, 5, 16, 17 &SHD: 1, 6, 7, 14.

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