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Vascular Plants of California
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Morella californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MyricaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Shrub, small tree, generally aromatic, evergreen or deciduous; generally monoecious or dioecious; roots generally with nitrogen-fixing bacteria; hairs generally both nonglandular, thread-like and glandular, peltate. Leaf: simple, alternate, entire to pinnately lobed, resin-dotted; stipules generally 0. Inflorescence: spike, catkin-like, axillary; staminate, pistillate separate. Flower: generally unisexual, small; perianth generally 0. Staminate Flower: subtended by 1 bract, 0 [1--4] bractlets. Pistillate Flower: subtended by 1 bract, 2 or 4--6[3(8)] bractlets; ovary superior [to +- inferior], ovule 1, style 1, stigmas 2, short. Fruit: generally drupe or nut-like, small, rough or smooth, waxy or not, sometimes winged or bur-like from fused bractlets.
Genera In Family: 4 genera, +- 45 species: generally temperate, subtropics fruit of some Morella boiled to make fragrant wax. Note: Myrica as treated in TJM (1993) split into 2 genera based on Wilbur 1994 Sida 16:93--107.
Unabridged Note: Comptonia of eastern North America, Canacomyrica of New Caledonia each have 1 sp.; Myrica has 2 species
eFlora Treatment Author: Allan J. Bornstein
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MorellaView Description 

Habit: Shrub, small tree. Leaf: +- spicy-scented; blade unlobed, +- serrate, especially in upper 1/2. Staminate Flower: stamens generally 6--12(22).

Morella californica (Cham. & Schltdl.) Wilbur
Habit: Plant 2--10 m. Leaf: generally +- narrowly lance-elliptic; tip generally sharply acute. Staminate Flower: stamens 7--16. Fruit: few per pistillate inflorescence, 4--6.5(8) mm diam.
Ecology: Coastal dunes and scrub, closed-cone pine, redwood forest; Elevation: < 150 m near coast, < 500+ m inland. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, w KR, NCoRO, CCo, w SnFrB, SCo; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia. Flowering Time: Mar--Apr
Synonyms: Myrica californica Cham. & Schltdl.
Jepson eFlora Author: Allan J. Bornstein
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Morella californica

botanical illustration including Morella californica

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Citation for this treatment: Allan J. Bornstein 2012, Morella californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

Morella californica
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©2007 California Academy of Sciences
Morella californica
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©2008 Keir Morse
Morella californica
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©2008 Keir Morse
Morella californica
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©2008 Neal Kramer
Morella californica
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©2008 Neal Kramer

More photos of Morella californica
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Morella californica:
NCo, w KR, NCoRO, CCo, w SnFrB, SCo
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).