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Myrica gale (Sweetgale)
Makin, Julie

Myrica gale

Myrica gale L.


Myricaceae (Bayberry Family)

Synonym(s): Gale palustris, Myrica gale var. subarctica, Myrica gale var. subglabra, Myrica gale var. tomentosa


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

Sweetgale is a low-growing, 2-6 ft. high, deciduous, bushy shrub with glossy, dark-green to grayish foliage. The long leaves are sweet-scented. Inconspicuous flowers are borne in catkins.

Sweetgale is a member of the wax-myrtle or bayberry family (family Myricaceae), which occurs nearly worldwide, with about 40 species of small trees and shrubs; 5 native tree species and 3 shrub species in North America.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Green , Blue , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , CT , MA , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , VT , WA , WI
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Lab. to AK, s. to Long Island, MI, MN & n.w. OR; rarely along mts. to NC & TN
Native Habitat: Bogs; pond shores

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet to moist soils.


Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Myrica gale in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Myrica gale in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Myrica gale


Record Modified: 2022-10-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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