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Myrica californica Cham. & Schlecht.

Californian Bayberry

Modern name

Myrica californica Cham. & Schltdl.

An evergreen shrub usually 10 to 14 ft high, with vigorous shoots, hairy when young. Leaves oblanceolate or somewhat oval, tapered at both ends, regularly and angularly toothed, sometimes almost to the base, 2 to 4 in. long, 12 to 34 in. wide, dark glossy green, glandular on both surfaces, especially beneath, downy only on the midrib above, slightly fragrant when crushed; stalk 14 in. or less long. Male catkins borne in the axils of the year-old leaves, about 1 in. long; female catkins usually on the same plant. Fruits globular, 16 in. across, purple, but covered with white wax.

Native of California, where it is sometimes a tree 40 ft high. In very hard winters this shrub is cut back to ground-level at Kew, but in ordinary winters survives without injury except to the tips of the young shoots. It is a cheerful, vigorous evergreen, but its leaves are not so strongly scented as those of the other species here mentioned. Very well adapted for the milder parts of the country.



Other species in the genus