bayberry, common name for the Myricaceae, a family of trees and shrubs with aromatic foliage, found chiefly in temperate and subtropical regions. The waxy gray
berriesof the North American wild or cultivated bayberry shrubs (chiefly Myrica cerifera ) are used to make fragrant bayberry candles, scented soap, and sealing wax; bayberry is also called candleberry and wax myrtle. Sweet gale ( M. gale ), a bog plant, yields tannic acid. Sweet fern ( Comptonia peregrina ) is a North American shrub found chiefly in the E United States and cultivated elsewhere in dry, sandy areas. Its foliage is used for medicines and tea. Bayberry is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Myricales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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