Myrtyl-Myrtus communis

Myrtyl is a beautiful evergreen shrub, with leathery oviate leaves and small starry white flowers with yellow stamens.flower-1291003_1920

It grows up to 10 feet on the coastline of the Mediterranean and was brought to the UK by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 16th Century from Spain.

It likes a moist but well drained neutral to sl. acid soil and needs protection from frosts and harsh winds, in a sheltered sunny position. The flowers appear after a long hot summer. Water with collected rain water or calcium free water. It can be trained as a bonsai. And is commonly used as hedging and topiary in warmer climates.

The leaves  and blue black berries are very aromatic due to the Myrtol Essential oil in them and are used to flavour meats especially sausages, and a popular drink from Sardenia called Mirto is made from macerating the leaves in alcohol.

In Greek mythology it is the sacred herb of Aphrodite and considered a symbol of love and immortality, hence  being worn as a bridal garland and used in wedding ceremonies. The scented leaves can be added to pot pourris or for bathing.


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