Myrica gale

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaMyricaceaeMyricaMyrica gale


A small shrub which suckers to form dense thickets. It grows in organic soils in base-poor bogs and moorland, lowland raised bogs, wet heaths and acid carr; in all its sites, moving groundwater is a constant feature. It tolerates light shade and is not grazed. Generally lowland, but reaching at least 520 m in the Forest of Drumochter (Easterness).



World Distribution

Suboceanic Boreo-temperate element; also in E. Asia and N. America.

Broad Habitats


Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1353

Life form information

Height (cm): 150

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 976

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 553

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.75

Weighted Changed Factor: -12

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (183d)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1976)
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Skene KR, Sprent JI, Raven JA, Herdman L
2000.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 215. Myrica gale L. Journal of Ecology. 88:1079-1094.