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September 25, 2015
Posted in: Nature | Reading Time: 2 minutes


Honeybee on a Myrtle -213/365

The Myrtle (genus name, Myrtus), is a flowering plant, native across the northern Mediterranean (especially in the islands of Sardinia and Corsica). Commonly used as a hedge plant, this Myrtle is found as hedge on a farm in Santa Cruz Mountains. The Myrtle requires long hot summers to flower, which eventually reveal its round blue-black berry which contain several seeds. Its seeds are dispersed when birds eat the berries. Sardinia and Corsica use the plant to produce an aromatic liqueur, Mirto. Mirto rosso (the red variety of liqueur) is produced by macerating the berries while mirto bianco (white) is produced from the less common yellow berries and leaves. The berries, whole or ground, have been used as a pepper substitute and give that distinct flavor to Mortadella sausage and American bologna sausage.


The Myrtle - 215/365

The myrtle is from the family Myrtaceae, which includes plants such as the bay rum tree, clove, guava, allspice and eucalyptus. They are woody with essential oils and flower in multiples of four or five. The common myrtle is an evergreen shrub with star-like flower, usually white and pollinated by insects. In classical Greek mythology, the myrtle was sacred to the goddesses Aphrodite and Demeter.  The dream interpreter, Artemidorus, claimed a myrtle garland signifies the same as an olive garland, except that it was auspicious for farmers (because of Demeter) and women (because of Aphrodite).

In Rome, the myrtle is significant to Venus. At the Veneralia, an ancient Rome festival to honor Venus, women bathed wearing crowns of woven myrtle. Myrtle was also used in wedding rituals. In the Mediterranean, the myrtle was symbolic of love and immortality. In their culture, the plant was used extensively and considered an essential plant.

Our landscape plans call or a small hedge of the Dwarf Myrtle along the curved portion of our house. I am excited to see how many visitors it will attract!

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2 comments on “Myrtle”

  1. Thanks for the background on the pretty myrtle. When we first saw your post in Feedly, we thought the bee was Myrthle:)

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

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