The wax myrtle is a shrub or small
tree, 20-40 feet in height, 8-10 inches in diameter. It has divergent
branches which form a narrow, round crown.
Leaves are simple, alternate, and persistent.
The leaves are 2-4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, elliptical in shape, with
an acute apex. Leaf bases are wedge-shaped. Leaf margins are
coarsely serrate-toothed. Leaves are yellow-green with small dark
glands above, bright orange glands below. Petioles are short and
The flowers of this plant are unisexual and dioecious. They occur in oblong catkins.
Fruit is a drupe, 1/8 inch in diameter, covered with a bluish wax. Fruit is on short spikes that are persistent until spring. Seeds are small and pale.
The twigs are slender, becoming dark
brown and glabrous in their second season. The pith homogeneous.
The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-green
with gray patches.
The wax myrtle grows in sandy soils
near the east coast. It is found from New Jersey south along the
coast to southern Florida, west through the Gulf states to Texas.
The waxy coating of the fruits is sometimes
used to make candles, which burn with a bluish flame. When extinguished
a lasting fragrant aroma remains.
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