Monday, January 5, 2015

Myrtle

Myrtus

Myrtus communis
A very attractive, moderate growing, large evergreen shrub, reaching up to 12 feet, that is native to the Middle East, east to Afghanistan. It is popular in southern Europe and in California. It is dense, upright and pyramidal when young, older plants become more rounded. It makes an excellent hedge. Some records include: largest on record - 38 x 37 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot.
The oppositely-arranged, ovate leaves, up to 2 x 0.6 inches in size, are glossy deep green.
The 5-petalled, fragrant, white ( pink in bud ) flowers, up to 0.6 inches across, are borne during late spring and early summer.
The ovoid fruits, are followed by deep purple berries, up to 0.5 inches in length. The attractive bark is smooth and brown.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 ( some clones hardy in zone 8 ) in full sun to partial shade on sandy or very well drained soil. It is extremely heat tolerant, even thriving in southern Arizona.

* photo of unknown internet source


'Tarentina' ( Tarentum Common Myrtle )
A dwarf shrub, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet in 10 years. Regular Myrtus communis is moderate growing and much larger.
The closely-spaced, very small leaves, up to 0.8 inches, are green.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 in full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. Mature plants should be watered deeply once monthly. Propagation is from cuttings ( or seed for the species ). Spider Mites of scale may sometimes bother myrtle, but generally it is pest free.

'Variegata'
Foliage is boldly margined creamy-white.

Myrtus nivellei ( Saharan Myrtle )
Very similar to Myrtus communis but is native to 2 small areas of relict forests just north of the central Saharan Plains in the Tassili n'Ajjer Mountains in Southern Algeria as well as the Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad. It is critically endangered in the wild.

Myrtus ugni

* video found on Youtube

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