Morella caroliniensis

Swamp Candleberry, Evergreen Bayberry


Also known as Myrica heterophylla, Myrica caroliniensis

Plant Specifics

Size:8-20 (12) ft tall by 4-15 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:NA
Fruit Color:Brown
Noted for:Aroma, Fragrance, Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Screen or hedge plant. Deciduous to semi-evergreen.
Considerations:Clonal: it usually sends up sprouts from its roots to form thickets. The wood is somewhat brittle, but it will grow back if cut to the ground.
Availability:Native nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Humus (organic, upland), Organic material (muck), Sand
Soil pH:Acidic



Fuits are eaten by birds, especially yellow-rumped warblers (which are very efficient at digesting the waxy fruits), in the fall and winter (NC State Extension Service)


It is a host plant for the Red-banded Hairstreak butterfly  (NC State Extension Service)

Native Habitats:Wet sites. Bogs, swamps, flatwoods depressions, cutthroat seeps.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:The waxy coating on fruit can be used to make candles, similar to its northern cousin, the bayberry (M.pensylvanica). Leaves can be used as a substitute for bay leaf for cooking soups and stews.
General Comments:

Foliage fragrant when crushed.

Bayberry is an actinorhizal plant: its roots feature nitrogen fixing nodules formed in symbiosis with the nitrogen fixing actinobacteria Frankia. Thus it is tolerant of nitrogen-poor, acidic soils such as wetlands and dunes.(Widipedia).

The range is disjunct within Florida.