Northern Bayberry

Scientific Name:  Morella pensylvanica (Myrica pensylvanica)

Light:  Full sun to part shade

Zone:  3 to 7

Height:  5 to 10 feet

Width:  5 to 10 feet

Flowers:   March to April, yellowish-green, insignificant

Fruit/Seed:  September to April, bluish-white berry, showy & fragrant

Fall Color:  semi-evergreen


Birds:   Berries provide a key energy source for swallows migrating south along the mid-Atlantic coast and are retained on the plant well into winter making them  available for bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant and numerous songbirds to consume.


Deer Resistant:  Yes, rarely damaged


Native:  Only to the coastal area of Maryland

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The fragrant bayberry fruit was a source of wax for early settlers and is still used in candle making.  The aromatic fruit laden branches are used for decoration in fall and winter.

Bayberry is a versatile shrub that can be naturalized in woodland or rain gardens, informal hedges, screens or shrub or wildlifeborders.  It’s salt tolerance allows it to be planted near roads.  About 20% of plants should be male to achieve good fruit set on female plants.  Bayberry cannot compete with other vegetation.  One or two year old nursery grown bare-root or containerized seedling stock should be used.  Mulching around newly established seedlings aids in moisture retention and weed control.  Plant one or two rows for borders and hedges, at two to four foot spacings.


‘Myda’,  fruiting female clone

‘Myriman’  male pollinator.

‘Morton’ (Silver Sprite‘) –  female fruiting clone forms a dense, broad-oval mound with gray-green leaves. It grows to 5’ tall and wider.


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Northern Bayberry – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Northern Bayberry – Missouri Botanical Garden

Northern Bayberry – University of Connecticut Plant Database

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Recommended for Wildlife by

HG120 Native Plants of Maryland

Songbirds – FS613

Twelve Ways to Design a Bird Friendly Garden – Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge

Photo Credits

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed


Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7


Part Sun, Sun


Clay, Dry, Loam, Moist, Wet

Flower Color


Flower Season


Fruit Season

Fall, Spring, Winter



Wildlife Value

Deer Resistant, Food for Birds, Nectar, Nest Sites, Summer Cover

Notable Features

Erosion Control, Fragrant, Hedge, Rain Garden, Salt Tolerant

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available


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