Sweet gale

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. November 2011.

Scientific name: Myrica gale L.

Common name(s): sweet gale, sweetgale, bog myrtle

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


-small shrub

– leaves are fragrant; most likely found in wet areas

  • dark green leaves
  • toothed towards the top

– generally flowers in May in ME

-symbiotic relationship with bacteria that fixes nitrogen

– may be confused with Morella caroliniensis; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage





Wildlife Benefits:

-fruits are a food source and attract birds



Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Go Botany. “Myrica Gale L.” Myrica Gale (Sweetgale): Go Botany, 2021, gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/myrica/gale/.