Myrtus Communis – Sweet myrtle

very fragrant , evergreen perennial shrub ~ myrtle
The symbol of divine generosity, and magic herb powers of fertility, peace, money and youth, it has long been considered the herb of love.
Myrtle was held to be sacred to venus and was used as an emblem of love in wreaths and other decorations. It has been grown in britain for over 400 years, but you will have to search all over the garden centres to find one.
According to one interpretation when adam was expelled from paradise he was allowed to take with him wheat, chief of foods; the date, chief of fruits; and the myrtle; chief of scented flowers.
“instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree.” ~ isaiah 55:13.
Both aromatic leaves and berries of this evergreen shrub were used in ancient roman cookery. Myrtle leaf may be used in place of bay leaves.
Myrtle fruit is used raw or cooked, used fresh when ripe or dried then as an aromatic flavouring. The leaves are used in cooked savoury dishes, dried fruit and flower buds in sauces. The wood is used for walking sticks. The plant can be grown as a hedge in southern britain or clipped to form simple topiary.
The bark and roots are used to tan the finest turkish and russian leather to which it imparts a delicate scent
The aromatic myrtle is native to the mediterranean region and the middle east and is cultivated in southern england and the warmer regions of north america.
The plant may grow to 10ft. High. The leaves are thick and lustrous, dark green and glossy, with many small, translucent, oil-bearing glands. The white flowers, about 1.8 cm (about 0.7 inch) long, are borne in abundance in july and august, on short stalks. The fruit is a purplish black, many-seeded berry. Myrtol, a volatile oil found in most parts of the plant, was formerly used as an antiseptic and tonic.
Respiratory and immune system: used for asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, chronic cough, colds, flu, infectious disease, and tuberculosis.
Skin/hair: good for oily skin, acne, open pores, haemorrhoids.
Any reasonable site and soil will do, if it is well drained. The site must be sheltered and sunny.
Hardy to zone 8 (south of england) but is one of the few trees that will actually thrive indoors, so it is an excellent subject for a patio/conservatory shrub, and is excellent for bonsai training.
Pruning is not necessary, cut back any unwanted growth in late spring.

About the Author


Maria is currently growing everything from seed that she can lay her hands on. Also playing with colours and textures to fulfill her garden desires...