One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A North American shrub with aromatic leathery leaves and waxy berries.
Genus Myrica, family Myricaceae: several species, in particular northern bayberry (M. pensylvanica) and black bayberry (M. heterophylla)See also wax myrtle
- ‘Wild bayberry thrives in the sand with almost no maintenance, will grow in full sun or partial shade, is not harmed by salt spray and is drought-resistant.’
- ‘Before fall migration, swallows gorge themselves on insects and bayberries.’
- ‘Included in the brambles are raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, loganberries, bayberries, and the wineberry.’
- ‘Root cuttings are not often used as an important method of propagation, but many plants, such as bayberry, wisteria, some rose species, and oak-leaf hydrangea, can be propagated by this method.’
- ‘Samantha watched him go inside and shut it behind him; a flash of lightning illuminated the beach roses and the bayberry bushes, and the old overturned schooner in front of Ray's work shed.’
2A tropical American shrub with aromatic leaves that are used in the preparation of bay rum.
Pimenta racemosa, family MyrtaceaeAlso called bay rum tree
- ‘In the past, grass, bayberry, and other weeds had taken over most areas used by the nesting commons.’
- ‘The rolling hummocks wear a soft, wind-tossed mane of reeds, and here and there thickets of aspen, sumac and bayberry punctuate the scene.’
- ‘Know of a willow hawthorn or evergreen bayberry near you?’
- ‘Needles that still look fresh should be removed from the tree and mixed with an equal amount of bayberry leaves, tiny pinecones and a preservative that absorbs scent.’
- ‘Decorative arches are erected in the festival area and are covered with bundles of bayberry branches.’
Late 17th century: from bay + berry.
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