The Wax Myrtle, or Southern Bayberry aka Myrica Cerifera is a fast-growing, Florida native shrub. These beneficial shrubs can grow up to 20′ tall, the leaves can be used like Bay leaves and the smell is said to naturally repel mosquitoes and fleas, and a variety of wildlife loves to eat the berries which can also be tediously made into candles.
I have wax myrtles growing wild in the low-lying woods near my house in zone 9b Florida. They prefer moist soil and can survive long periods of standing water.
Other plants tend to outgrow the wax myrtle, leaving it in shady the understory.
If you come across a wax myrtle, make sure you crush a leave and smell it! They can be cooked the same way as bay leaves. The wax myrtle is named after the berries that can be used in a candle.
Wax Myrtles are a great addition to any food forest or garden. They are fast growing, making them great for chop & drop, and bonus points for their nitrogen-fixing capabilities. The leaves and bark are known to have medicinal properties as well.