shopping Bayberry - one variety
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Wholesale Bayberry

Myrica cerifera
plant overview
bayberry, a holiday tradition

Bayberry, also called American bayberry and Candleberry, is a small evergreen tree that produces a waxy fruit that was the original source of traditional bayberry candles. Bayberry root bark contains various tannins, phenols and flavonoids and is used to make astringent infusions for topical use. Bayberry root bark uses include culinary, decorative and household applications. Bayberry root bark benefits also include traditionally being used to treat fevers, diarrhea and dysentery.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.

A Bit of Botany

a little botanical information on bayberry

Myrica cerifera is an evergreen of the Myricaceae family. The glandular leaves are long, have a leathery texture and serrated edges, and contain aromatic compounds.

The plant is dioecious, with male and female flowers borne in catkins on separate plants. Male flowers have three or four stamens, and are surrounded by short bracts. The female flowers develop into fruit, which are globular and surrounded by a natural wax-like coating. The species flowers from late winter to spring, and bear fruit in late summer or fall.

No endosperm is present on the seeds. This plant can also reproduce via underground runners. This species occurs in two forms, but there is no clear dividing line between them, many intermediate forms occurring.

Specimens in drier and sandier areas are shrub-like, have rhizomes and smaller leaves. Those growing in damper situations with richer soil are more tree-like with bigger leaves.

common names
& nomenclature

The generic name Myrica comes from a Greek word myrike, which refers to some fragrant plant (possibly tamarisk). The specific name cerifera means "wax-bearing".

Also known as:
american bayberry, american vegetable tallow tree, bayberry wax tree, candleberry, candleberry myrtle, katphala, myrtle, wax myrtle, wax berry, southern wax myrtle, southern bayberry, bayberry tree, tallow shrub, myrica, arbre a suif, myricae cortex, small waxberry, yang-mei, vegetable wax, and northern bayberry

Bayberry, the holiday evergreen tree

Where in the World

habitat and range for bayberry

Bayberry is native to North America and is most common in peninsular Florida and on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. It occurs from the Florida Keys north to southern New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware; west to eastern Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and central Arkansas. Less frequent occurrences include Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.

Outside the United States, wax-myrtle grows in Bermuda, Cuba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the British West Indies. It grows in Mexico, Central America, and South America from Costa Rica to Belize.

Health and Wellness

Hundreds of years ago bayberry was widely used medicinally. Today bayberry has nearly been forgotten. Science has shown this native American herb may have some real benefits in treating fever and diarrhea.

Bayberry root bark contains an antibiotic chemical (myricitrin), which may fight a broad range of bacteria and protozoa. Myricitrin's antibiotic action supports bayberry's traditional use against diarrhea and dysentery. Bayberry also contains astringent tannins, which add to its value in treating diarrhea.

The antibiotic myricitrin also helps reduce fever, thus lending credence to bayberry's use among the Choctow Indians.

Myricitrin promotes the flow of bile and might potentially be of value in liver and gallbladder ailments, but as yet no research demonstrates this.

In large doses, bayberry root bark may cause stomach distress, nausea, and vomiting. Those with chronic gastrointestinal conditions, such as colitis should use it cautiously.

Bayberry changes the way the body uses sodium and potassium. Those who must watch their sodium/potassium balance, such as people with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure, for example, should consult their physicians before using it.

Flavor and Aroma

Due to the high tannin content, bayberry root bark has a bitter and astringent taste. While the berries and leaves smell pine-like, the root has no detectable odor.

Formulas and Recipes

Bayberry candles are a popular holiday tradition. The fruits are boiled and the resulting wax-like substance is skimmed and used to make candles. This is the source of the traditional bayberry candle that is so popular during the winter holidays due its earthy, pine-like fragrance.Bayberry root bark has a variety of other use such as tea blends, wellness and the root bar can be used like cedar to deter pests in drawers and closets. The bark can also be burned outdoors to deter mosquitoes.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting bayberry

Bayberry is adaptable to many habitats, growing naturally in wetlands, near rivers and streams, sand dunes, fields, hillsides, pine barrens, swamps, sandy areas, and in both coniferous and mixed-broadleaf forests; the plant likes full sun.

is very adaptable to difficult soil conditions and can grow in poor, sandy or heavy clay soils. It does best in slightly acid soil.

Bayberry has male and female plant parts on separate plants (dioecious), so in order for the female plant to produce berries a male and a female plant need to be planted near each other.

Sow seeds in a cold frame as soon as soon as they are ripe in the autumn. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Bayberry can also be propagated by cuttings or layering.

Harvest the root in late autumn and pound to separate bark from the root. Dry thoroughly and powder.

Gather the berries early in the morning in the fall or winter and boil to remove the wax. The wax will float on top and can be skimmed off. It is called myrtle wax. It can be used to make soap or candles.

Dry the root thoroughly and keep in a dry place. Once dried, bayberry root can also be ground and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised:  Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

All reviews solely reflect the views and opinions expressed by the reviewer and not that of Monterey Bay Herb Co. We do not verify or endorse any claims made by any reviewer. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.