Myrica gale Myricaceae
Sweetgale, Sweet Gale, Bog Myrtle, Meadow Fern mi-RI-ka GAH-lee
- Broadleaf deciduous bushy shrub, ascending branches, 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m) tall, suckering, spreads slowly. Leaves alternate, simple, narrow obovate, 2-6 cm long, thin, toothed near apex, tapering to the base, gray-green above, paler below, sweet fragrance, yellowish resin droplets visible on both surfaces, especially below. Dioecious (male and female plants), flowers small, in greenish-yellow, waxy catkins; male flowers crowded in stalkless catkins 7-15 mm long, female flowers three pointed, in dense catkins 8-10 mm long. Fruit a small pointed nutlet, 3 mm long, greenish-yellow to brown, in brown, cone-like spikes, dotted with resin, persist in winter.
- Sun to part shade. Does well in moist, acidic soils.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 2 Native to the Northern Hemisphere, especially more northerly areas, from North America, Europe (abundant in Scottish moors and bogs), and Japan. In the Pacific Northwest it is found from Alaska to Oregon, and in the latter west of the Cascades and near the coast.
- gale: from the Old English name of this plants, gagel.