Black spruce is a familiar evergreen tree of bogs and wet areas of the north, including the vast taiga forests of Canada where it is harvested for lumber and pulp. It can grow over 70 feet tall, but is often dwarfed when growing in very wet habitats like bogs. The dense cover of its short, thick needles makes it an excellent nesting tree for birds, who also eat its seeds.

<-- Picea mariana or black spruce (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

Speckled alder, a member of the birch family, is a very common shrub of bogs, lakeshores and streams. It bears male flowers on long drooping catkins, and female flowers in small cone-like catkins.

<-- Alnus rugosa or speckled alder (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

Sweet gale, or bog myrtle, is a bog shrub with fragrant blue-green leaves that can be dried and used for perfume, tea or as a flavoring ingredient in beer-making. Its bark is also used to make dye and for tanning leather.

<-- Myrica gale or sweet gale leaves (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

The cone-like catkins of sweet gale give off a waxy substance when boiled, and have been used for making candles. Sweet gale berries can also be used as a spice.

<-- Cones of Myrica gale (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

Tamarack, or larch, is a member of the pine family and can grow up to 90 feet tall. Tamarack is a deciduous conifer -- it looses its needles in the fall and regrows them in the spring.

<-- Larix laricina or tamarack branches in spring (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

The needles of the tamarack tree turn bright yellow in the fall, before falling off.

<-- Yellow needles of Larix laricina (click thumbnail image to view photograph.)

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The "Virtual Bog Walk" is made possible by a Lake Superior Coastal Wetland Conservation Education Grant from the Michigan Coastal Management Program, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Photographs ©Scot Stewart and ©MooseWood Nature Center
MooseWood Nature Center, P.O. Box 773, Marquette, MI 49855 (906) 228-6250