In search of bayberries : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I need to make some bayberries candles for a re-enactment. I want to boil the berries down and get the wax myself. Does anyone know where I could buy some bayberries?

Thank you, Karen

-- karen (, December 08, 2000


Karen, this is probably not an inexpensive way to go, but how about a phone call to your local florist? Or craft store? Good luck, sounds like fun.

-- Cathy Horn (, December 09, 2000.

I poked around on the web some, but all I could find were the bayberry scents that you could put in the melted wax. You will need to get the fresh berries, and that will be hard, unless you live where they grow naturally. What event are you doing? Bayberry candles would be correct for the eastern states, but I am not ssure about the states a bit furthur west--Ohio, Indiana, etc. Tallow or beeswax would be correct just about anywhere. But bayberry sure does smell good, huh?

-- Leann Banta (, December 09, 2000.

I grew up with a shrubby bush in Florida called Sweet Myrtle. That is all I ever knew it as until this past year when I went on a trip to the Baltimore Zoo. They had the same thing there and they were calling it Bayberry. Even had a sign up about how people would get a wax from the berries. I have always loved the scent of bayberry and have not found it in the stores for a long time.

Perhaps it is available locally and you just didn't know it. Perhaps someone in Florida or elsewhere could send you some berries.

It always seemed to grow near water.

Hope this helps.

-- Heather (, December 10, 2000.

They do grow where I live here on Long Island. I just didn't get them in time and now have a whim to try and make candles. I was hoping I could purchase them somewhere.

Thanks, Karen

-- Karen (, December 10, 2000.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. One of the activities there was making candles. We dipped strings into large vats of bayberry wax that they had gotten by boiling the berries. I wonder if you could contact the Village. They might have berries or know where you could buy a quantity. Sturbridge is a recreated New England town from the 1830s century town. Their email address is

A much slower route, the one I will be using, is to grow your own. Gurney’s sells the plants, although if they grow in your area, that’s probably not the best way to get them. Good luck!

-- Laura Jensen (, December 11, 2000.

Bayberry also grows on the Oregon coast. But it would take a HUGE amount of berries to get enough wax to make candles. If you were making candles out of pure bayberry wax, you would have to use one of the smaller molds. I think the bayberry wax used to be mixed with beeswax for the scent, but it would have been rare to find candles made out of pure bayberry wax. I don't know about mixing it with tallow, as the the scent of the burning tallow might overpower the bayberry scent anyway. For right now, you might experiment with using one of the scents/essential oils found at the hobby supply stores, then look for the berries in season. But be prepared to spend quite a bit of time picking to get enough to do the job!! Have fun!!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, December 11, 2000.

There are forums-WildForager and wildcrafters,where someone would know where to get berries.You can join and ask the question.

Bayberry is northern,as far as Ohio,wax myrtle is southern, there are a few more, & one is out west.Same family,different species,all useable.

I received waxmyrtle seed from a seed trader.Perhaps she has berries.You could maybe work out a trade? I can check if interested.

Recipes I saw used the wax as a scent to beeswax,as described.

-- sharon wt (, December 11, 2000.

I emailed Old Sturbridge Village regarding bayberries and just got the following response, in part:

You should be aware that you will need a LOT of bayberries to make candles. The common practice is to add a small amount of bayberry wax to parafin to create the scented candle. A few shrubs are probably not going to yield much wax, but they are an attractive and interesting addition to landscape plantings.

Just thought you'd like to know how they do it at Sturbridge.

-- Laura Jensen (, December 13, 2000.

I was searching the same myself and found 3 sites that offer Bayberry Wax. I haven't purchased as yet, but you can try these: (company sells chemicals, etc. so not sure of the pureness of the product); (today sold out, though, but looking for a supplier) and (sells for 12.95/lb for "pure crude bayberry wax" which I suspect may need some straining). I make a special trip to Sturbridge to purchase their bayberry candles as a colonial Christmas tradition; though I'm a little disappointed to learn that these aren't 100% (according to one of your postings).

I would be interested in hearing if you found a source and I'll do the same. Good luck!

-- Lynne Mizner (, January 29, 2001.

Ah, I used to make bayberry candles as a child (well,my mother helped with the skimming and straining). We picked gallons and gallons of berries and sometimes had to add parrafin in order to get enough for more than one candle. This was in Maine, am now in North carolina and see they grow a southern version here. My friend and I will start picking when the fruit are ready and try making candles, however would like a written account of how it is done in the south. We used to just sort the berries from the twigs, and leaves,etc. Boil them for as long as was extracted(~1hour or more as we kept the pot boiling on the back of a wood stove and added berries and water as it boiled down) Then we used cheesecloth to strain out any debris. This was done by an adult as it needed to be done while very hot or the wax would cling to the cheesecloth(very thin layer). We then took the melted wax and poured it into a candle mold that was chilled and had a string in it. Don't know how many others used this method. If we needed to add parrafin, we did it before pouring into the mold. Hope folks find this interesting. It was hard, but the smells were great in the house!

-- Priscilla kincaid (, September 09, 2001.

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