SPECIES DESCRIPTION
MYRTUS COMMUNIS ssp. COMMUNIS

Family:- MYRTACEAE

Common Names:- Myrtle

Synonyms:- Myrtus acuta, Myrtus belgica, Myrtus boetica, Myrtus italica,
Myrtus littoralis, Myrtus veneris.

Meaning:- Myrtus (Gr) The Greek name for myrtle.
                 Communis (L) Growing in clumps, common.
               
General description:- An erect, much-branched, evergreen shrub to 5m, though
often less; twigs glandular-hairy when young.

Leaves:- Opposite, simple, lance-shaped to oval, dark shining green, from 2 to
5cm length, pointed, tough, aromatic, persistent, almost stalkless, provided with
internal glands containing an essential oil.

Flower:- White or pinkish, from 20-30mm diam., solitary at the axil of the leaves,
long stalked. Corolla with 5 free, rounded petals. Calyx with 5 partly fused sepals,
in the shape of triangle. Stamens numerous and protruding. Only one style
surmounted by only one stigma.

Fruit:- Berry 7-10 x 6-8 mm, broadly ellipsoid to subglobose, hairless (glabrous)
not very fleshy usually blue-black when ripe

Key features:-

Habitat:- Maquis, woods, scrub, roadsides, occasionally by streams.

Distribution:- Widespread and common throughout the Mediterranean.
Widespread and common on Crete.

Flowering time:- May-Aug.

Photo by:- Steve Lenton                      Schinokapsala  18/05/2010

                       FAMILY AND GENUS DESCRIPTIONS

MYRTACEAE

General description:- Evergreen trees or shrubs.

Leaves:- Simple, usually opposite, exstipulate, with aromatic oil-glands.

Flowers:- Hermaphrodite, actinomorphic. Calyx and corolla 4- or 5-merous.
Stamens numerous. Ovary inferior, syncarpous, with axile placentation; fruit a berry
or capsule.

MYRTUS

General description:- Shrubs with simple,

Leaves:- Opposite.

Flowers:- Solitary in leaf-axils.

Fruit:- A berry crowned by the persistent calyx-teeth.

Key features:-
1) Leaves opposite.
2) Fruit a berry.

Uses:-
The bark, leaves and flowers contain an aromatic oil, Eau d'Anges, used in
perfumery and medicinally. The berries are sometimes fermented into an acid-
tasting drink.