Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Myrica gale (Sweet Gale, Pacific Bayberry)

Kingdom

 Plantae Plants

Subkingdom

 Tracheobionta Vascular plants

Superdivision

 Spermatophyta Seed plants

Division

 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants

Class

 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons

Subclass

 Hamamelididae

Order

 Myricales

Family

 Myricaceae Bayberry family

Genus

 Myrica L. sweetgale

Species

 Myrica gale L. sweetgale

This is a deciduous shrub found in moist situations such as swamps and bogs.

Sweet Gale is very abundant along the west coast and along coastal Alaska, but it is also found in some parts of midwestern and eastern states in USDA zones 1-8.

The flowers are catkins with female and male flowers on separate bushes.

The leaves emerge after the catkins and are long and leathery with strong serration and aromatic yellow glands.

Small nutlets will form and remain on the bush.

The branches of this shrub are used to flavor what is called gale beer.

This is a small to medium shrub that will grow from 2-6 feet tall and will spread by suckers to form colonies.

Myrica gale is important as a wetland plant and for its nitrogen fixing abilities.

Photos courtesy of Sten Porse.

Contact:  star@chillirose.com ~ Copyright 2012 Wallace W. Hansen ~ All rights reserved