Morella cordifolia was a valuable plant in the domestic life of the early colonists who obtained a fine wax from the layer of wax that covers the fruits. The process of obtaining wax was first noted by Thunberg in 1772; the berries are thrown into boiling water and the molten wax which floats is skimmed off and strained through muslin or other cloth into cold water. The solidified wax is pressed into cakes, then remelted and cast into moulds and then bleached in the sun. The wax makes an excellent polish (some consider it superior to beeswax), it was used as an ointment for dressing wounds, to make candles and to make soap.
The berry wax has also been eaten as a food since early times, in particular by the Khoi. The wax is in fact not wax, but a true fat.
Morella cordifolia is not difficult to grow and is ideally suited to sandy and/or coastal gardens as it tolerates salty spray. It does well in sun or semi-shade, in well-drained soil and will tolerate poor soils but will perform better if generously mulched with compost at least once or twice a year. This shrub has a tendency to spread and sends out sideways-growing shoots in odd directions. Prune to keep low or tidy.
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