Skip to main content
  1. Family: Myricaceae Rich. ex Kunth
    1. Genus: Myrica L.
      1. Myrica serrata Lam.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is SW. Tanzania to S. Africa, Madagascar.

    [FZ]

    Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 9, Part 3. Polygonaceae-Myriaceae. Pope GV, Polhill RM, Martins ES. 2006.

    Type
    Type from South Africa, ‘Cape of Good Hope’.
    Inflorescences
    Female (and bisexual) catkins usually dense at first, 0.5–1.2 cm long, elongating and up to 3–4 cm long in fruit; bracts ovate-triangular, sometimes broadly so, to transversely rhombic, otherwise as in male; bracteoles usually 4, 0.4–0.7 mm long, ovate, concave, densely hairy; style-arms slender, long-caudate, 1.5–3 mm long; bisexual catkins sometimes with vestigial female parts in male flowers Male catkins reddish or purplish-brown when young, dense at anthesis, elongating later, 0.5–3 cm long; bracts 1–1.5 mm long, broadly ovate-triangular or deltoid in the upper part, abruptly contracted to a narrow base and with cusp-like points either side at the middle, glandular, ciliate, rarely with a short pubescence dorsally; stamens 3–4(5), fewer in the lowermost bracts only; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy Female (and bisexual) catkins usually dense at first, 0.5–1.2 cm long, elongating and up to 3–4 cm long in fruit; bracts ovate-triangular, sometimes broadly so, to transversely rhombic, otherwise as in male; bracteoles usually 4, 0.4–0.7 mm long, ovate, concave, densely hairy; style-arms slender, long-caudate, 1.5–3 mm long; bisexual catkins sometimes with vestigial female parts in male flowers. Male catkins reddish or purplish-brown when young, dense at anthesis, elongating later, 0.5–3 cm long; bracts 1–1.5 mm long, broadly ovate-triangular or deltoid in the upper part, abruptly contracted to a narrow base and with cusp-like points either side at the middle, glandular, ciliate, rarely with a short pubescence dorsally; stamens 3–4(5), fewer in the lowermost bracts only; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy.
    Ecology
    Swampy places along rivers and thickets in marshy grassland, often with Syzygium, sometimes a dominant; 0–2000 m.
    Note
    Rendle in J. Bot. 41: 85 (1903) discusses material in the Linnean and earlier herbaria in his review of Chevalier’s monograph. Myrica conifera Burm.f. appears to be based most probably on the American species Morella cerifera (L.) Small, as argued by the authorities who have adopted the next available name, Myrica serrata, for the African plant. Myrica aethiopica L. is a superfluous name for Myrica conifera.
    Distribution
    MOZ M Also in southern Tanzania, west to Angola and south to South Africa (Cape). MOZ GI MOZ Z Zambia BOT N, ZAM B, ZAM N, ZAM W, ZAM E, ZAM S, ZIM N Botswana ZIM E ZIM C ZIM SE ZIM W Zimbabwe Mozambique Mozambique Caprivi Strip MAL S MAL C MAL N Malawi
    Habit
    Much branched shrub or small tree, 1–9 m tall, dioecious or less commonly monoecious with male flowers at the base of the otherwise female catkins; bark grey, fairly smooth to rough. Much branched shrub or small tree, 1–9 m tall, dioecious or less commonly monoecious with male flowers at the base of the otherwise female catkins; bark grey, fairly smooth to rough
    Branches
    Branchlets subglabrous (apart from the glands) to tomentellous or occasionally densely pilose further south. Branchlets subglabrous (apart from the glands) to tomentellous or occasionally densely pilose further south
    Leaves
    Leaves scented; petiole 3–5 mm long; blades up to 7–12 × 1–3 cm (sometimes smaller in South Africa), linear-oblanceolate to oblanceolate or ± oblong-elliptic, acute to bluntly pointed at the apex, long-attenuate at the base, subentire to coarsely and rather distantly serrate in the upper half or two-thirds, the margin often becoming somewhat incurved and slightly crenate between the teeth, glabrous to rather inconspicuously pubescent mainly on the midrib towards the base, rarely rather densely hairy overall, usually rather densely covered with golden-yellow glands on both surfaces, pock-marked when the glands wither; lateral nerves on either side generally 20–30 or more, inconspicuous beneath, the finer venation obscure. Leaves scented; petiole 3–5 mm long; blades up to 7–12 × 1–3 cm (sometimes smaller in South Africa), linear-oblanceolate to oblanceolate or ± oblong-elliptic, acute to bluntly pointed at the apex, long-attenuate at the base, subentire to coarsely and rather distantly serrate in the upper half or two-thirds, the margin often becoming somewhat incurved and slightly crenate between the teeth, glabrous to rather inconspicuously pubescent mainly on the midrib towards the base, rarely rather densely hairy overall, usually rather densely covered with golden-yellow glands on both surfaces, pock-marked when the glands wither; lateral nerves on either side generally 20–30 or more, inconspicuous beneath, the finer venation obscure
    Male
    Male catkins reddish or purplish-brown when young, dense at anthesis, elongating later, 0.5–3 cm long; bracts 1–1.5 mm long, broadly ovate-triangular or deltoid in the upper part, abruptly contracted to a narrow base and with cusp-like points either side at the middle, glandular, ciliate, rarely with a short pubescence dorsally; stamens 3–4(5), fewer in the lowermost bracts only; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy.
    Female and Hermaphrodite
    Female (and bisexual) catkins usually dense at first, 0.5–1.2 cm long, elongating and up to 3–4 cm long in fruit; bracts ovate-triangular, sometimes broadly so, to transversely rhombic, otherwise as in male; bracteoles usually 4, 0.4–0.7 mm long, ovate, concave, densely hairy; style-arms slender, long-caudate, 1.5–3 mm long; bisexual catkins sometimes with vestigial female parts in male flowers.
    Fruits
    Fruits ellipsoid-globose, 3–4 mm across. Fruits ellipsoid-globose, 3–4 mm across.
    [FTEA]

    Myricaceae, R.M. Polhill, B.A., Ph.d., F.L.S. & B. Verdcourt, B.Sc., Ph.D. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2000

    Habit
    Much-branched shrub or small tree, dioecious or less commonly monoecious, 1–9 m tall; bark grey, fairly smooth (fide Greenway) to rough (Lynes specimen); branchlets subglabrous (apart from the glands) to tomentellous or occasionally densely pilose further south.
    Leaves
    Leaves scented; blades linear-oblanceolate to oblanceolate or ± oblong-elliptic, up to 7–12 cm long, 1–3 cm wide (sometimes smaller in South Africa), acute to bluntly pointed at the apex, long-attenuate at the base, subentire to coarsely and rather distantly serrate in the upper half or two-thirds, the margin often becoming somewhat incurved and slightly crenate between the teeth, glabrous to rather inconspicuously pubescent mainly on the midrib towards the base, rarely (not in East Africa) rather densely hairy overall, usually rather densely covered with golden- yellow glands on both surfaces, pock-marked when the glands wither; lateral nerves on either side generally 20–30 or more, inconspicuous beneath, the finer venation obscure; petiole 3–5 mm long.
    Flowers
    Female flowers borne on the upper part of the catkin.
    Female
    Female flowers borne on the upper part of the catkin. Female catkins usually dense at first, 0.5–1.2 cm long, elongating and up to 3–4 cm long in fruit; bracts ovate-triangular, sometimes broadly so, to transversely rhombic, otherwise as in ♂; bracteoles usually 4, ovate, concave, 0.4–0.7 mm long, densely hairy; style-arms slender, long-caudate, 1.5–3 mm long.
    Inflorescences
    Male catkins dense, 0.5–3 cm long, reddish or purplish-brown when young; bracts broadly ovate-triangular or deltoid in the upper part, abruptly contracted to a narrow base and with cusp- like points either side at the middle, 1–1.5 mm long, glandular, ciliate, rarely with a short pubescence dorsally; stamens 3–4(–5), fewer in the lowermost bracts only; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy. Female catkins usually dense at first, 0.5–1.2 cm long, elongating and up to 3–4 cm long in fruit; bracts ovate-triangular, sometimes broadly so, to transversely rhombic, otherwise as in ♂; bracteoles usually 4, ovate, concave, 0.4–0.7 mm long, densely hairy; style-arms slender, long-caudate, 1.5–3 mm long.
    Male
    Male catkins dense, 0.5–3 cm long, reddish or purplish-brown when young; bracts broadly ovate-triangular or deltoid in the upper part, abruptly contracted to a narrow base and with cusp- like points either side at the middle, 1–1.5 mm long, glandular, ciliate, rarely with a short pubescence dorsally; stamens 3–4(–5), fewer in the lowermost bracts only; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy.
    Fruits
    Fruits ellipsoid-globose, 3–4 mm across.
    Habitat
    Swampy places along rivers and thickets in marshy grassland often with Salix, Ficalhoa, Parinari, Syzygium, Maesa, Agauria, Dodonaea, Embelia and Elaeodendron etc., sometimes a dominant; 1550–2000 m
    Distribution
    T7 west to Angola and south to the Cape

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Angola, Botswana, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Synonyms

    Common Names

    English
    Lance-leaf (ved) waxberry

    Other Data

    Myrica serrata Lam. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Myrica conifera K000243555
    Tyson [2556], South Africa Myrica conifera K000243560 Unknown type material
    Ecklon [42] Myrica conifera K000243556
    Lebas [s.n.] Myrica conifera K000243558
    Shove [167] Myrica conifera K000243557
    Madagascar Myrica bojeriana K000243536
    Moss, C.E. [6653], South Africa Myrica mossii K000243561 Unknown type material
    Lebas [s.n.] Myrica aethiopica K000243559
    Aug 1, 2002 Gibbs Russell, G.E. [2407], Botswana Morella serrata K000315226
    Aug 1, 2002 Smith, P.A. [621], Botswana Morella serrata K000315227
    Aug 1, 2002 Edwards, D. [4372], Botswana Morella serrata K000315225
    Bidgood, S. [5365], Tanzania Morella serrata K000190595
    Timberlake, J. [5359], Malawi Morella serrata K000614702

    Bibliography

    First published in Encycl. 2: 592 (1788)

    Literature

    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Mannheimer, C.A. & Curtis, B.A. (eds.) (2009). Le Roux and Müller's field guide to the trees and shrubs of Namibia, rev. ed.: 1-525. Macmillan Education Namibia, Windhoek.
    • Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Alves, T., Francisco, J., Harris, T., Nangoma, D. & de Sousa, C. (2009). Biodiversity and Conservation of Mchese Mountain, Malawi. Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036: 1-71. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2006). Flora Zambesiaca 9(3): 1-277. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Robyns, W. & al. (eds.) (1948-1963). Flore du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi 1-10.

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Plants and People Africa
    Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
    © Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/