Myrica pensylvanica
Northern bayberry
Image of Myrica pensylvanica

Photo by Brad Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Tall shrub (2 m) of prairie fens; older branch stems whitish-gray; leaves membranous, elliptic with yellow glands on undersurface, aromatic when crushed; fruit berry-like, covered with warty protuberances.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Myrica pensylvanica

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


This recently discovered species has only recently been documented from Michigan, and is considered native only when occurring in its usual prairie fen habitat. Other uplands sites in old fields likely represent escapes, as it is occassionally planted as an ornamental.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Tamarack, alder-leaved buckthorn, poison sumac, shrubby cinquefoil, twig-rush, hardstem bulrush, wire sedge, tussock sedge, spike-rush, prairie Indian-plantain, Kalm's lobelia, whorled loosestrife, big bluestem, fringed brome, common mountain-mint, northern bedstraw, and black-eyed Susan.


Requires protection of hydrology, groundwater source, and natural disturbance regime. This species benefits from management that includes prescribed fire and brush removal, which maintains open habitat and reduces competing woody vegetation. Control invasive species, particularly glossy buckthorn, a common invader of this type of habitat. Protect habitat from being drained and developed.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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