Image for Sweet Gale

Sweet Gale

Scientific name

Myrica gale


Sweet Gale is a medium-sized shrub which grows into a thick bush about 1-2 m tall. This species produces 1-8 cm long, oblong-lanceolate leaves which are finely toothed at the tip and are spirally arranged. When bruised, these leaves give off a pleasant aroma. Male and female catkins are produced on separate plants. The seeds are dispersed from the female plants via water, as they float on two corky bracts. This shrub also provides a good food source for bird species that eat the seeds including Grouse, Chickadees, and Bluebirds. Mammal species like Beavers and White-Tailed Deer also browse on the twigs and leaves of this plant.

Planting conditions

Sweet Gale grows best in moist or wet conditions, acidic soil, and full to partial sun exposure. It is naturally found in bogs, swamps, marshes, and along wet shorelines. This shrub species has nitrogen fixing bacteria in its root nodules, allowing it to convert nitrogen into a usable form. Thus, Sweet Gale can be used on nutrient poor, acidic sites, which may be difficult to plant on for other species. Additionally, being able to convert nitrogen and add nutrients to the soil can be beneficial for other plants in the area.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 0a
    • 0b
    • 1a
    • 1b
    • 2a
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 1-2m
  • Spread:
    • 1-2m