Myrica californica, Pacific Wax Myrtle

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Myrica californica

This tall evergreen shrub or small tree 15- 30' tall is one of the most popular and easily grown native shrubs. Its handsome deep-green leaves, quick growth, and pyramidal shape make it a great candidate for a privacy hedge. It is wonderful for drawing birds to the garden..

Pacific wax myrtle is adaptable to many soils and can handle summer drought or areas with consistently moist soil. Its small, dry, black berries are a draw for cedar waxwings and sparrows, among others.

It is being used a great deal for hedges, but frequently being planted much too closely, sometimes as close as 4' apart. At least 8' is required, or more. In "old-growth Myrica forests," in the Pt Reyes Seashore, the trees can grow 60' tall, creating a beautiful rich brown mulch, two feet in depth. We sometimes use this mulch to nurse other plants through the drought.