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Myrica – Wikipedia

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**Characteristics of Myrica Species:**
– Myrica species range from 1m shrubs to 20m trees.
– The majority of species are evergreen.
– Their roots host nitrogen-fixing bacteria, aiding growth in poor nitrogen soils.
– Leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 2–12cm long with a crinkled margin.
– Flowers are catkins, with male and female catkins usually on separate plants.

**Uses of Myrica:**
– Native Americans used bayberry for medicinal purposes like treating diarrhea and nasal congestion.
– Bayberry wax from the fruit is utilized for candle-making.
– Foliage of Myrica gale serves as an insect repellent.
– Myrica rubra fruit is economically significant in China.
– Leaves can enhance the flavor of soups and broths.

**Myrica Species and Taxonomy:**
– Myrica comprises numerous species including Myrica adenophora and Myrica arborea.
– Some notable species are Myrica californica, Myrica cerifera, and Myrica gale.
– Myrica rubra, known as yang mei or Chinese bayberry, holds importance.
– Various species have uncertain taxonomic status.
– Formerly placed species include Comptonia peregrina and Nageia nagi.

**Etymology, Alternative Names, and Taxonomy:**
– Greek name for Tamarix species was Μυρίκη.
– Common English names include ‘bayberry’ or ‘wax myrtle.’
– In certain regions, it is known as ‘candleberry,’ ‘sweet gale,’ or ‘sweet willow.’
– Indigenous names like ‘kaphal’ in India and ‘kita’ in Japan are used.
– Belongs to the genus Myrica within the family Myricaceae.

**Distribution, Economic Importance, and Conservation:**
– Myrica species are found in various habitats globally, from wetlands to upland forests.
– They are economically important for candle and soap making.
– Some species have medicinal properties and support wildlife.
– Myrica plays a role in soil stabilization, erosion control, and landscaping.
– Conservation efforts focus on genetic diversity, phytochemistry, and restoration in degraded habitats.

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