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Walk The Trail: Quincy Salt Marsh TrailStop 16

Bayberry - Myrica pensylvanica

Like most coastal plants, bayberries have thick leathery leaves that help reduce evaporation and possibly make them more resistant to salt spray as well. The fragrant berries produced by this species were prized by the colonists, who melted the wax coating off of the fruits to make candles. Back in colonial days an "October law" appeared on the books stating that Bayberry fruit could not be picked before the first day in October, an attempt to provide enough berries for everyone by preventing colonists from gathering extra amounts of immature fruits.

Today, the berries are more important as a food source for birds - the wax is considered toxic to humans. The leaves of Bayberry have been dried for use as a soup flavoring or as an insect repellent.

 


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