chicagoland grows® Plant Introduction Program

Silver Sprite™ Bayberry

Myrica pensylvanica ‘Morton’ 



The Northern Bayberry is a deciduous, densely branched shrub that can grow to five to ten feet in height and width. It is native to the east coast, where it can be found on coastal dunes, in fens, around lakes and streams, to upland woodlands. Tolerant of both wet and dry soils, salt spray, and acidic to slightly alkaline soils, the bayberries can be used for naturalizing, screening, in rain gardens, for soil stabilization, etc.  Bayberry candles and scents are made from the fragrant wax found on the fruits of female plants. Hardy to USDA Zones 4-7.

The Silver Sprite™ Bayberry was selected from a public landscape in Lisle, Illinois by Kris Bachtell of the Morton Arboretum. More compact than is typical of the species, this selection measured 5 feet in height with a 7 foot spread at approximately 15 years of age.  Characteristics of this female clone include a dense, compact, broad-oval habit and attractive gray-green foliage. The small gray fruit, best seen after the foliage has dropped, is typical of the species, and are consumed by a number of native birds.

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Male Silver Sprite™ Bayberry (pollinator)

Myrica pensylvanica ‘Morton Male’



Bayberries are dioecious, with male or female flowers on separate plants. This male-flowered clone was selected by Tim Boland, former curator of horticulture at the Morton Arboretum, for having the same superior habit and deep green foliage that Silver Sprite™ Bayberry displays, while also remaining compact in size. It blooms at the same time as the Silver Sprite™ Bayberry, and so has proven to be an excellent pollinator to ensure good fruit production on the female selection. The Male Silver Sprite™ Bayberry also exhibits a deep eggplant-purple color during the winter for additional display value. Hardy to USDA Zones 4-7.

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