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Wax Myrtle Berries Are Important to Over-Wintering Birds

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Wax myrtles are dioecious, that means male and female flowers are produced on separate plants and in this case, pollen moves by wind. Small, bluish-grayish fruits develop from female flowers and are tightly clustered along the stems of the plants. These fruits are covered with wax, therefore the name wax myrtle, and that wax keeps the fruit from drying out. Many over-wintering and migratory birds rely on these fruits during the winter months and use the evergreen branches for cover. The yellow-rumped myrtle warblers, affectionately called butter-butts by bird lovers, prefer these berries to any other winter meal and are the major dispersal agent for wax myrtle seeds. Also, Yellow-bellied sap suckers enjoy wax myrtle sap and you may see their distinctive horizontal bands of holes in trunks and limbs of these plants.