Habit: densely branched, multi-stemmed shrub but when protected it forms into a small tree with a narrow rounded crown. The gray to brown bark is smooth and thick, leathery evergreen leaves are elongated with serrated margins often having resin dots. The sticky leaves give off a spicy aroma when crushed or on a warm day. Male flowers are tiny yellowish green catkins, female flowers are tiny reddish green flowers both forming out of the leaf axils. The fruit is a single seeded, wrinkled berry in small tight clusters that are coated with a waxy white covering, turning from red to black, showier than the flowers. Blooms from April through July.
Ecology: found growing on coastal dunes, moist slopes, streambanks, and canyons below 500 ft (150m) from British Columbia through California along the Pacific Coast.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade in moist to wet well-drained soil. Pacific wax myrtle tolerates coastal conditions and can be drought tolerant.
Makes an excellent evergreen hedge or tree strip for windbreaks. Berries attract several varieties of birds.