Myrica gale L. - Sweetgale


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Myrica gale - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Myricaceae


Swamps and shores.




Circumboreal, extending south to NJ, PA, MI, MI and OR in the U.S. A population occurs in one county in NC as well.


Branching shrub to 1.5 m. Leaves gray-green with prominent resinous dots below, aromatic, deciduous, oblanceolate, toothed near the tip; terminal bud lacking. Catkins axillary, in anthesis before leaves expand; staminate catkins cylindric with triangular bracts; pistillate catkins ovoid with subrotund bracts, cone-like when mature and not waxy; 2 persistent bractlets persist with the achene.


Flowers as the leaves emerge in the spring.

Wetland indicator: Obligate

Leaves can be steeped to make tea and the dried leaves and fruits can be used to season meat (similar to sage).



Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.





 Michael Hough 2009