Page authors: David Giblin, Don Knoke
Myrica gale

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east across Canada to the Great Lakes region and northeastern North America.

Habitat: Coastal bogs, swamps, lakes, and streams.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Deciduous, dioecious shrubs 0.5-1.5 m. tall, the new growth finely pubescent, becoming glabrous with age.


Leaves alternate, oblanceolate, 3-6 cm. long and up to 2 cm. broad, rounded to obtuse, entire to coarsely few-toothed above the middle, usually pubescent on both surfaces, strongly dotted with bright yellow wax glands.


Staminate flowers is bracteate catkins 1-2 cm. long, the main bract exceeding the stamens; stamens 3-5, the filaments free; pistillate flowers in dense spikes up to 1 cm. long, with flattened bractlets longer than the pistil fused to the base of the pistil, these much longer than the subtending bract, all parts strongly yellow-waxy.


Drupe barely 3 mm. long, smooth except for the wax glands.

Accepted Name:
Myrica gale L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 2: 1024. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Gale palustris (Lam.) A. Chevalier
Myrica gale L. var. subglabra (A. Chevalier) Fernald
Myrica gale L. var. tomentosa C. DC.
Myrica palustris Lam.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Myrica gale in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Myrica gale checklist entry

OregonFlora: Myrica gale information

E-Flora BC: Myrica gale atlas page

CalPhotos: Myrica gale photos

35 photographs:
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