Myrica gale – Sweet Gale, Bog Myrtle
(central to northern Europe, northern Asia to North America)
Habit: Small shrub, 0.5-1.5 m tall and wide, stiff, dense, upright, like switches, forming colonies.
Flowers: Dioecious, light brown spikes, like catkins; before leaves shoot in March to April.
Fruits: Small syncarpy like cones.
Leaves: Small, reverse ovoid leaf laminae, pale green; no autumn colours; very aromatic, whole plant poisonous.
Twigs: Red-brown, like switches, very aromatic.
Roots: Cordate, collect nitrogen, resistant to flooding.
Demands: Sunny to shady, cool and humid, frost hardy.
Soil: Fresh to moist, very acidic to moderately acidic, avoids chalk; only on humic or sandy-humic soil.
Hardiness: Zone 2