Chincoteague Wax Myrtle
Chincoteague and Assateague Islands abound in
this small tree that grows on the edges of the marshes. When crushed,
its narrow shiny green leaves have a fragrance reminiscent of bay leaves.
Its grayish black berries can be collected and, upon boiling in water,
produce a waxy oil used in bayberry-scented candles. The trunk of this
tree is generally quite small, though at the base some of the older
specimens grow to a four or five inch diameter.
This particular tree resided “down the island” and was pushed
over to make room for a new house late in 2004. The trunk was rescued
from the marsh and cut into small billets while still green. Because
wax myrtle shrinks significantly upon drying, this wood was seasoned
for three months before being cut to dimension, then dried another 4
months before turning.