Eastern Shore Food Lab

Myrica pensylvanica - Northern Bayberry

A hedge of four bayberry plants functions as a screen, windbreak, and nitrogen fixing soil builders in the apiary guild.

Common name: Northern Bayberry

Scientific name: Myrica pensylvanica

Plant family: Myricaceae

Primary Uses

Edible Parts: The berries, which can be harvested in the fall and winter. Leaves can be used for flavoring, but remove the leaves before eating.

Medicinal Uses: the root bark can be astringent and emetic in large quantities. Tea made from the leaves can help with fevers, and washing the skin with the tea can relieve itchiness.

Meaning of Scientific Name: the genus, Myrica, indicates that the plant is an evergreen, tree, or shrub. The species, pensylvanica, means “of Pennsylvania.”

Designing with this Plant

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-9

Forest Garden Layer: shrub layer

Fun Fact: Berries from the northern bayberry produce a wax when scalded. People often extract this wax to make bayberry candles and soaps.

Sources