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Bog Myrtle

A common shrubby plant that gives of a aroma of pine resin. Found in wet, acidic areas


  • Bog Myrtle: the sweet gale

    Post date: Thursday, 14 January, 2016 - 00:00

    The Internet can share words, photographs, video and sound but sadly not smell (well, not yet anyway). So, I can share this photo with you and write some words about it but I cannot share the scent of bog myrtle (Myrica gale). I cannot pass this shrubby plant without nipping a bud, seed head or leaf off of it, then crushing it and sniffing the wonderful aroma of pine, it so strong. It also quite distinctive and is its main feature.

    I doubt my photo, which is of the ripening seeds, will be flagged as a favourite by anyone. This is not a particularly beautiful plant; in fact it is a bit plain and boring with flowers that are hardly discernible, very small catkins that appear in April and May before the greyish, oval leaves subsequently come out.

    As its name implies, it can be found in boggy areas on any low lying, damp, acid heathland. It forms quite large colonies, one is unlikely to find one individual plant. 


Common Name Bog Myrtle
Alternative Name(s) Sweet Gale
Scientific Name Myrica gale
Species Group Bushes
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Bog myrtle family - Myricaceae
Status Locally common
Flower Colour Group Brown
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
Preferred Environment
Look for Brown seed-like flowers on a shrubby plant. The flowers/seeds have strong pine scent when crushed.
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

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