On the rising ground beyond the salt meadow, out of reach of any but the highest storm tides, there grows a thicket of woody plants with an understory of grasses. Although thicket plants are generally unaffected by tidal action, they must still be tolerant of salt spray and exposure to wind and sun.
Waxmyrtle Scientific Name: Myrica cerifera
Waxmyrtle is larger than northern bayberry, but it sometimes hybridizes with this close cousin. Its leaves are rather leathery and remain on the shrub through the winter. The fragrant berries, collected for making scented candles, are eaten eagerly by game and songbirds. Size: 10 to 30 ft. (3 to 10 m)
Shadbush(Allegheny serviceberry or smooth juneberry) Scientific Name: Amelanchier spp.
This small tree is named after the American shad—a fish—whose spring spawning runs coincide approximately with the tree’s blooming. The star-like form of fragrant white flowers marks the shadbush as a member of the rose family. In the fall, its red foliage provides a brilliant display, while birds are attracted to its dark red fruits. Size: 40 ft. (12 m)
Northern Bayberry Scientific Name: Myrica pensylvanicaThe famous fragrance is contained in both the leaves and berries of this non-evergreen shrub. Its berries, waxy and whitish, grow beneath the leaves in clusters on the stem and may be used in making scented candles. Bayberry is usually a small shrub, but occasional plants reach heights of thirty feet or more. Size: 1.5 to 6 ft. or more (.5 to 2 m or more)
Groundsel Tree Scientific Name: Baccharis halimifolia
For much of the year this shrub is rather nondescript. Its grayish-green leaves bear a few course teeth, and its small whitish flowers are easy to overlook. In late fall, however, the female shrubs put on a modest show when their fruits sprout tufts of silky hairs. Size: 10 ft. (3 m)
American Holly Scientific Name:Ilex opaca
This holly is one of our best-known trees. Its red berries and leathery evergreen leaves with their sharp marginal spines are used widely for decorations during the Yule season. Holly wood is also prized for inlay work and the manufacture of piano keys. Over harvesting has depleted stands of holly in many places, and really large trees have become rare outside of parks and gardens. Size: 40 ft. or more (12 m or more)