Northern Ontario Plant Database
Myrica gale L.
En: sweet gale, bog myrtle
Myricaceae (Wax-myrtle or bayberry Family)
General: A low, deciduous shrub, 6–15 dm tall, fragrant. Twigs dark purplish-brown, smooth, dotted with yellow resin glands.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, firm, pinnately-veined, short-petiolate. Leaf blades oblanceolate, to 6 cm long, to 2 cm wide; dark green above, paler beneath, both surfaces bearing golden resin dots; base long-tapering (attenuate); apex blunt to rounded and coarsely toothed toward the tip; margins entire; petiole 1–3 mm long.
Flowers: Unisexual, with male and female flowers usually borne on different shrubs (plants dioecious). Male catkins erect, 1–1.5 cm long; female catkins to 1.5 cm long, but usually noticeable only when the 2-branched, red stigma emerges. Blooming in early spring.
Fruit: Small, brown, smooth (glabrous), ovoid nutlets, to 3 mm long; borne in cone-like clusters. Fruits mature in autumn.
Habitat and Range: Marshes, streambanks, lake shores, swamps, and bogs. A circumboreal species found throughout northern and central Ontario, but rare below 44° N (Soper and Heimburger 1982).
Internet Images: This image of Myrica gale is from the Wisconsin State Herbarium's Vascular Plant Species Database.
The Myrica gale webpage from the Virginia Tech Dendrology website.
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