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California Wax Myrtle
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Morella californica

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About California Wax Myrtle (Morella californica) California Wax Myrtle (Morella californica) is a native shrub in the Myracaceae (Myrtle) family that is found primarily along the coast in northern and central California, although it does occur as far south as Los Angeles County and as far north as British Columbia. It is moderately fast growing and long-lived. It grows in an upright form to a height of 33 feet, with active growth during the spring and summer. Flowers are yellow and bloom in the early summer. Leaves are lanceolate, dark green, and remain on the plant throughout the year. It tends to grow in dunes, hills and woodlands at elevations from sea level to 2,000 ft. This species makes an excellent small garden tree, especially in coastal gardens or inland if given slightly more moisture and afternoon shade.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 33 ft (1.8 - 10.1 m)

Max. Width
20 ft (6.1 m)


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dunes, coastal hills, inland foothills and valleys in conjunction with northern coastal prairie or scrub, woodland, or sometimes wetland/riparian communities

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
3' - 4145'

Annual Precip. ?
11.9" - 107.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 2.88"

Coldest Month ?
41.4° F - 56.4° F

Hottest Month ?
56.7° F - 77.0° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 22.42 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
4.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Sunset Zones ?
5*, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Use with trees such as Firs (Abies sp.), Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Pines (Pinus sp.), and Spruce (Picea spl.), or with shrubs such as Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Ceanothus sp., Coffeeberry (Frangula sp.), and Coast Silktassel (Garrya elliptica)

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Low, Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
2x/month, 3x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

May be sheared to form a hedge or to create a more formal appearance.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant

Other Names
Botanical Names
Myrica californica

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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