Myrica gale - Bog Myrtle

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Fagales - Family: Myricaceae

Bog Myrtle on moorland

Myrtle, sometimes referred to as Sweet Myrtle because of its distinctive odour, is a deciduous low-growing (up to 1.5 metres tall) perennial shrub of acid bogs and wet peaty moorland. Occasionally this plant can be seen growing in alkaline fens.


The oval-to-lanceolate leaves look rather like the leaves of Laurel of Rhododendron. The reddish male and female flowers are catkins and they appear on separate plants (Myrtle is therefore termed 'dioecious').


Bog Myrtle is an uncommon find throughout most of Britain and Ireland. This species is recorded also in most European countries, from Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean and the Iberian Peninsula; it also occurs in parts of North America.

Myrica gale

The Bog Myrtle plants shown on this page were photographed in Anglesey, North Wales in June.

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