Myrtle Plant

Myrtus communis, “tarentinia”

£22.50£27.00

The Myrtle Shrub is a small evergreen bushy shrub with tiny scented dark green leaves. It bears fragrant white flowers from mid spring to early summer followed by little deep purple fruit. Not fully hardy so needs protection in cold weather.

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Botanical name

Myrtus communis, “tarentinia”

Approx height when sent

40cm

Description

Our Myrtle is grown as a baby standard. Tiny aromatic evergreen leaves with sweetly scented delicate five-petalled white flowers with tufts of fluffy stamens appearing in late summer and autumn.
Followed by aromatic purple-black berries which are used to make a syrup in Italy where it grows wild. The little leaves can be used in cooking.

The cultivated myrtle needs to be trimmed to keep its round mop head. This is best done in spring but it can be allowed to grow into a more bushy shape which is very attractive. Good in pots, myrtle are quite fussy and need attention but it is well worth it being such a charming little plant. It is not fully hardy and needs good protection in a conservatory or greenhouse in the cold months while preferring to be outside in a protected position during the summer. It likes sun (will tolerate partial shade) and fertile well-drained soil. Height in maturity, 60cm x 35cm / 2ft x 1ft.

Common Name: Myrtle
Latin Name: Myrtus communis – tarentina
Soil: Fertile, well-drained soil
Habit: Bushy
Position: Preferably sun or partial shade
Flowering period: Late summer / autumn
Colour: White
Hardiness: Non hardy
Eventual Height/Spread: 60cm x 35cm / 2ft x 1ft
Special features: Evergreen, aromatic

History Symbolism, Folklore & Old Wives Tales
Sacred to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Together with her son Cupid she helped many lovers’ wishes come true. Roses, Poppies & Myrtle were her favourite plants, hence the tradition of roses on Valentine’s Day. Myrtle is proof of love to last for many years to come. It is an emblem of love, laughter and joy.

Myrtle is grown mainly in hot countries. The berries are often eaten raw (not recommended), made into syrups or in tarts and jams or dried. The jam has an aromatic flavour which goes well with savoury dishes. In the Mediterranean, the dried fruit and flower buds are used as a spice. The syrup is often used in slow cooking of meat.
Myrtle Jam: 1 kg/2lbs myrtle berries & 1kg/2lb sugar – Makes approx 2kg/4lbs of jam
Wash the berries and prick them with a darning needle. Simmer gently until soft with just enough water to prevent them burning. Add the sugar and bring to the boil. Then bottle in warm sterilised jars and seal.
One would need a lot of myrtle berries so it might be more practical to halve the ingredients.Even so they may not produce enough berries in Britain.

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