September 25
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Plant Genus of the family Myricaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Comptonia Native to eastern North America and found from Nova Scotia to Georgia, the sole species in this genus is a small, suckering, deciduous shrub that eventually develops into a many-stemmed thicket. Its foliage is pleasantly aromatic and although more lobed than pinnate, it is rather ferny, hence the common name sweet fern. It blooms in spring and early summer when it produces male and female flowers on separate catkins. The catkins are a red-brown shade, as is the down that coats the young leaves. CULTIVATION: An inhabitant of fields and woodlands, sweet fern prefers moist, well-drained, humus-enriched, slightly acidic soil and a position in full sun or partial shade. Thin out the older wood occasionally to encourage fresh young shoots and maintain the plant?s vigor. Propagate by seed, layering or by removing rooted suckers.
Myrica With a widespread distribution centered on the northern temperate zones, this genus is composed of some 35 species of evergreen or deciduous shrubs or small trees. They have simple short-stemmed leaves and small separate male and female flowers, the male flowers in short catkins and the females in rounded clusters. Egg-shaped to spherical drupes follow the flowers and are often coated with an aromatic wax. CULTIVATION: Myrica species vary considerably in hardiness, but provided the climate is suitable they are not difficult to cultivate and will thrive in any well-drained soil that is not strongly alkaline or prone to prolonged drought. Plant in sun to half-day shade, water well in sun and trim to shape if necessary. Propagate from seed, layers or summer to autumn half-hardened cuttings.

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