Pollen of the common genera of Myricaceae (Comptonia, Morella, and Myrica)
are triporate with strongly protruding (aspidate) pores. The small (20-30 µm)
grains resemble birch (Betula), hornbeam (Carpinus), and
hop-hornbeam (Ostrya), which share those characters;
but the the inner walls of Myricaceae pollen are roughened and the
pore wall is thickened toward the base of the pore.
The "wax-myrtle family" comprises about 4 genera and 50 species of trees
or shrubs with typically aromatic and resinous evergreen (occ. deciduous) leaves.
The flowers are small and inconspicuous.
The fruits are waxy one-seeded berries born at base of leaves, near the tips of branches.
The roots of most species harbour nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
The family is widespread except for Auastralasia, North Africa, and temperate Eurasia.
The aromatic wax of the fruits is used in bayberry candles.
Pollen light micrograph:
The psilate (scabrate) grains can be distinguished by their strogly
aspidate pores, and the thickened-and-roughened inner surface of the
Pollen scanning electron micrograph (SEM)
The diagnostic roughness of the inner wall of the pore is not evident, and
the sculpturing of the outer wall is variable among species.
Production and Dispersal:
This wind-pollinated species is a heavy producer and its pollen is well dispersed.
Common in Holocene pollen samples from eastern North America to the Arctic.
Good preservation, and the distinctive morphology permits the
recognition of degraded pollen grains.
The family is considered primitive based on its floral morphology,
so the grains potentially may be found well into the Cretaceous; however,
Myrica-like pollen (Momipites) first becomes abundant
in the early Tertiary.