This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Characterised as above. The name was applied by the ancients to the Tamarisk or some other sweet-scented shrub. The species occur in North and South America, South Africa, Atlantic Islands, and Europe.
1. M. Gale. Sweet Gale, Bog-Myrtle, or Sweet Willow. - This is the only European species, and it is also a native of Britain. It is a dwarf fragrant shrub from 2 to 4 feet high with deciduous linear lanceolate-obovate toothed or entire ex-stipulate leaves from 2 to 3 inches long. Male and female flowers in separate catkins on the same individual, appearing before the leaves; male catkins clustered. Found in boggy places and on moors.
2. M. cerifera. Candleberry, Bayberry, or Wax Myrtle. - A small shrub about 4 to 6 feet high with oblong or obovate-lanceolate entire or sinuately toothed exstipulate leaves and scattered male catkins. A native of North America.
3. M. asplenifolia, syn. Comptonia asplenifolia. Sweet Fern. - A somewhat straggling irregularly branched small shrub with linear lanceolate pinnatifid stipulate slightly hairy leaves; lobes crowded, rounded. This is the prettiest and most interesting of the hardy species, growing about 3 feet high, and producing its inconspicuous flowers a little before the leaves. North America.