The Paciﬁc Waxmyrtle is generally a large shrub 8 to 20 feet high, but frequently it attains a tree size of 25 to 30 feet high with a trunk diameter of 8 to 12 inches. The slender branches are ascending and form a dense narrow rounded crown. The trunk is short and the bark, which is a grayish-brown externally and deep reddish-brown within, is smooth. The leaves are thin but tough in texture, have slightly curled edges, and are glossy, very dark green above and a light yellowish-green beneath. There is a slightly resinous aromatic odor perceptible from the leaves. The small, berry-like, spherical, ashy-white fruits are about one-quarter inch in diameter, and mature in clusters. Technically, these fruits with shells which are very thick and hard, the surface of which is thickly coated with round grains of whitish wax, are nuts. A commercial vegetable wax is extracted from these berries. Because of the glossy, evergreen foliage and thick, shrubby character of the tree, it is a fine ornamental in zones of moderate climate.
- Bayberry (Calif.)
- California Myrtle (Calif.)
- California Waxmyrtle (Calif.)
- California Bayberry Waxmyrtle (Calif.)
- Pacific Waxmyrtle
- Waxmyrtle (Calif.)
The Paciﬁc Waxmyrtle is native on the moist hill slopes and in the valleys of the Paciﬁc Coast region from Puget Sound, Washington, to the Santa Monica Mountains of southern California.
The wood of the Pacific Waxmyrtle is heavy, hard and stiff, close-grained and generally uniform in texture. The heartwood is a pale rose-red to light-brown with a narrow, lighter-colored sapwood. It is easily worked with tools and ﬁnishes nicely.
The small tree is useful as an ornamental species and the wax extracted from the berries has some commercial value. The wood is at present used only for novelty manufacture. The color and texture of the wood make it another interesting species for the home workshop.