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Myrtus communis, True Myrtle

Myrtus communis

True Myrtle
Family: Myrtaceae
Origin: Mediterranean Basin
Large shrub 5-10 ftFull sunSemi-shadeModerate waterWhite/off-white flowersFragrantSpice or herbAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsSubtropical, cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

True Myrtle is an evergreen shrub or small tree with dense foliage. The leaves when crushed have a strong scent, aromatic and refreshing, somewhat reminiscent to myrrh or eucalyptus. The small white flowers are sweetly scented.

The fresh or dried leaves are used as a spice, and can be used as a substitute for bay leaves. The dried blue purple berry fruits are edible and also aromatic and have been tried as a substitute for black pepper.

A popular landscape plant, Myrtle can be grown in part shade as well as full sun, and needs only little to moderate water. It can be grown in wide range of soils as long as drainage is good. Tolerates some freeze. Blooms in early summer.

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