If a picture is worth a thousand words, a flower is worth hundreds of sentiments for sure – the sentiments of love, happiness, sadness, joy, grief, and a lot more.
There are about 250,000 species of flowers today, but hardly a few hundred are extremely popular worldwide. Only those flowers that are ornamental with amazing beauty, elegant look, and extraordinary fragrance get the privilege of growing in our gardens.
One such amazing flower is Myrtle or Common Myrtle, the long appealing stamens of which give the illusion of milky light passing through optical fibers. And this is what makes this flower unique, and thus attracted our attention to write on it today. So, let’s know everything about myrtle.
What Is Myrtle Flower or Common Myrtle?
Common Myrtle is an ornamental shrubby tree with ovoid-shaped leaves, the white bowl-like flowers of which are known as good luck symbols for marriages, prosperity, and chastity. It has enormous importance from the times of ancient Greeks till today.
Seeing peoples’ curiosity and interest in learning about this famous flower, we have decided to jot down a comprehensive note on it. So, stay here while we dig deep into it.
Physical Appearance: How does Myrtle Plant Look like?
- Myrtle plant grows into a tree with an average height of 2.5 meters
- Overall, the tree is a bushy and evergreen shrub with many flowers on it
- The leaves are 3-5cm long, glossy, dark-green, leathery, aromatic, and ovate
- Flowers are about 2cm wide followed by eatable purple blackberries
What is the Origin of Myrtle Plant?
Myrtle is native to the Middle-east and Mediterranean region. But its widely cultivated in the southern areas of Britain and in North American countries where the average temperature is relatively higher.
Scientific Classification of Myrtle
Common Myrtle vs. Crape Myrtle vs. Wax Myrtle
You will see many sources confusing Common Myrtle with crepe myrtle flower and wax myrtles, both of which are neither from its family nor its genus.
Since Common Myrtle is what this blog is all about, it’s essential to differentiate it from other myrtles that may create any kind of confusion in the reader’s mind. Another thing to support this fact is when you ask for myrtle from any myrtle beach flower shop; he gives you the white myrtle.
The following points may help to understand the difference between these three myrtles.
- FLOWERS. The obvious difference between these three is their flowers. Common Myrtle has white flowers. Crape myrtle flowers are pinkish to red. Whereas wax myrtle flowers do not look like ordinary flowers; instead, they can be better described as green mulberries hanging.
- LEAVES. Common Myrtle has ovate 3-5cm long leaves. Crape Myrtle’s leaves are not that long; instead, they are more like those of orange. Much different from these two, Wax Myrtle leaves are 2-4 inches long and ½ inch wide.
- USAGE. In addition to ornamental and medicinal uses of all three myrtles, Wax Myrtle is used to making candles, as the wax is extracted from its berries.
- RITUAL IMPORTANCE. Among all three myrtles, Common Myrtle is considered a sign of good luck and prosperity. For this reason, it’s gifted on marriages.
Myrtle Flower Meaning
While studying the etymological meaning of myrtle, we get to know that its genus, Myrtus, is inferred from the Greek word, Myrtos, which means Myrtle tree.
Apart from its provenance meaning as described above, there are other myrtle meanings as well. Let’s take a brief overview of what does the myrtle flower represents?
1. Good Luck In Marriages
Another name for common myrtle flower is wedding myrtle flower, for its widespread use in weddings.
You might have noticed during the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, Meghan was seen carrying a bouquet of white flowers. These flowers were myrtles.
Just like the royal wedding, it’s used in thousands of other marriages too. So, what does it mean?
The myrtle flower bouquet given to the newlyweds means a wish of good luck in their lives, marital fidelity, and love between the couple.
We often see people growing money plants inside their homes, not exclusively because they love the plant, but the belief that it will bring wealth.
Similarly, for a long time, myrtle is believed to bring wealth and prosperity if grown inside one’s home. De facto, those who keep it inside their home actually become prosperous or not, are not proved.
Probably because of its white color, it’s considered a symbol of chastity as well. That is the reason it’s accompanied by other gifts to the newlyweds. In other words, myrtle symbolizes that the couple will remain faithful with each other in all matters.
How to Successfully Grow Myrtle At Home?
Having known the amazing benefits of myrtle, it’s time to know how to grow this beautiful plant at home.
If you’re a novice in gardening, it’s better to take know-how of the basic tools of gardening that make the work easier and fast. We will highlight each aspect of planting so that no confusion whatsoever remains.
Myrtle plant needs partial to full sunlight for growth, ideally south or west facing.
Normal soil usually found in our backyard gardens in the US is ok for it, including Chalk, Clay, Sand, and Loam. Moisture in the soil is a must, but at the same time should be well-drained. PH of the soil should be between 5 to 6.5.
Sufficient space should be allocated to let the Myrtle tree grows to an ultimate height and the spread of 1.5 to 2.5. But not in a single year or so, instead, it takes 10-20 years for myrtle to reach its ultimate height and spread.
Myrtle can be grown both by seedings or by its hardwood cutting, depending upon the availability. Seeds are usually got by drying its fruit. Hardwood cuttings can be best obtained in the mid-Autumn till late winter from a healthy plant.
Caring Tips For Common Myrtle
The obvious question here is, how often should we water the myrtle plant? Well, it does not require special attention when it comes to water it; instead, one to three times a week is sufficient, depending upon the weather.
Never let the soil dry, as the plant is too sensitive to survive in this condition. The water should be lesser in the quantity of lime.
If the alkalinity of soil is too high, chlorosis may occur. The solution is to treat the soil with Sulphur regularly. Also, use NH4+ or urea forms of nitrogen fertilizers, which help the soil lowering its pH.
The best time to prune evergreen shrubs, like myrtle, is in the mid to late spring – just before the growth starts and there is no more risk of frost. Prune out any diseased or damaged shoot and thin out shoots with some cutter or grafter.
Common Myrtle is generally pest-free. But sometimes it does get infected by spider mites, mealybug, and whitefly. However, proper light and moisture can help to avoid these pests.
Myrtle Flower Symbolism
It’s not an ordinary flower; instead, it has a rich history of reverence and prestige. Older civilizations like Roman and Greek had considered it quite sacred.
Just like daisy flower meaning indicates innocence and purity, myrtle flower symbolizes certain things too. Let’s look at some of the cultures in which it’s symbolized extraordinarily.
Ancient Greek and Roman Mythologies
Greek and Roman called this flower Myrtos and Myrtus, respectively.
According to Greek mythology, to distract Apollo, the nymph Daphne disguised herself into myrtle. Myrtle was considered a symbol of love, peace, happily married life and was sacred to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
Also, in the past, at the end of each Olympics, the winners were crowned with myrtle wreaths.
Church floors were strewn with myrtle at Easter times too, and poets and playwrights in Rome were honored with myrtle garlands.
Even one of the titles of the Roman goddess of love, Venus, was Venus Murcia (land of myrtle), which represents the importance of this plant to them.
In the Bible Scripture
In the Bible, the myrtle is symbolized as a sign of celebration and happiness. The first reference is found in Nehemiah 8:15, wherein the Feast of Tabernacles, people were asked to collect woods from the trees, including myrtle, to make booths.
Another reference is in Zechariah 1:8-11, where a man is described as standing among myrtle trees and enjoying the beauty of nature.
In Judaism, Myrtle is called Hadassah, a sacred plant among three others in the Feast of Tabernacles in 445 BC. Myrtle is used as a metaphor of righteousness because of its fragrance, which spreads in its surroundings.
In the Royal Families of Britain
As per Queen Victoria’s journal, her husband, Prince Albert, himself, supervised the royal garden for transplanting of myrtles.
Since that day till today, myrtle is considered a royal flower to be given to queens and princesses. For this reason, it’s also called victoria’s myrtle flower.
On the wedding day of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Catherine could be seen carrying a bouquet of myrtle flowers – symbolizing marriage success and love between the couple.
Myrtle Flower’s Color Meaning
Common Myrtle or Myrtus communis has white-colored flowers. And white colors is a symbol of purity, innocence, peace, goodness, etc.
It sends positive vibes to the viewer. That’s the reason white color is associated with hospitals, doctors, and divine things like angels, etc
In the same way, the white color of Myrtle flower conveys the message of prosperity, good luck, and successful marriage.
Common Myrtle Flower Pictures
Health Benefits of Myrtle
For thousands of years, myrtle has been used in medicines and cooking. Myrtle leaves are dried and used as we do with bay leaves, whereas its berries are used as a spice after drying and grinding them.
Let’s take an insight into the health benefits of myrtle, or what is myrtle good for?
Improves the Skin
Women have been conscious about their skin health for ages. Some direly try to whiten their skin while some are desirous to enhance the shine of their olive skin tone, and some simply want to rejuvenate theirs.
It has many antioxidants and astringents that reduce acne and resolve other skin issues. These elements remove excess oil from the pores and tighten them without drying it out.
It also fights against bacterial infections that cause cell damage.
A study was conducted on myrtle to evaluate if myrtle fruit contains antioxidant activities and fatty acids. It was concluded that myrtle fruits have a strong antioxidant capacity and play a vital role in the human diet.
One of the major constituents of myrtle is myricetin, which is obtained for its leaf extracts. Myricetin is of two types, myricetin-3-O-arabinoside and myricetin-3-O-galactoside.
The research concluded that myricetin is very helpful in reducing depression-like behavior owing to repeated restraint stress. So, it’s nothing less than a gift to someone in anxiety
Improves Respiratory System
One of the four rectified essential oils that make ELOM-080 is myrtle oil. ELOM-080, which is also called myrtle oil is an approved herbal oil that helps in acute and chronic bronchitis and sinusitis.
In addition to the benefits of ELOM-080 oil in respiratory tract diseases, it is also helpful in asthma, pharyngitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inflammatory diseases of the ear.
Helps in fighting Diabetes
Consumption of myrtle leaves, as well as the oil extracted from it, are used in Turkey to lower the blood glucose level.
A study was conducted to investigate the effects of oral consumption of myrtle oil (MO) in normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits. And it was observed that blood sugar level was significantly reduced in rabbits.
Helps in Preventing HPV Disease
The leaves of myrtle help in the treatment of infections caused by HPV. HPV or Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted virus that causes bumps to appear on genitals, especially in females, and can lead to cancer.
Suppositories of myrtle leaves in the genitals have proved to treat HPV infection and speed up the virus clearance.
Benefits and Uses of Myrtle Oil
Myrtle oil is obtained from the steam distillation of its leaves and sometimes flowers. But, how does myrtle smell like? Well, it smells like herbs and camphor.
In some parts of the world, it is also known as Arrayan.
Usually, myrtle essential oil available in the market has multiple compounds in it, including 1,8-Cineole, Limonene, a-Terpineol, a-Pinene, Linalool, and Myrtenyl acetate
- Famous for using as a massage oil
- Myrtle oil is used in medicines and skin treatment
- Used in flavoring certain recipes, like meat sauces
- Use in perfumes and toilet water
- Used in bath water for its astringent qualities
- Always use myrtle oil after diluting it
- Oral consumption of myrtle oil is not considered safe
- Avoid contact with eyes
- Should never be used on children
Artworks Related to Myrtle Flower
The beauty of this flower is often depicted in the myrtle flower drawings, tattoos, and paintings.
Not to confuse Common Myrtle with Crepe and other myrtles, this white myrtle flower is extremely beautiful and elegant. Besides certain medical benefits it provides, it adds a lovely bed of white flowers in your garden. Its symbolism as good luck in ancient Greek mythology and presence in Britan’s Royal garden to date clearly shows it’s not an ordinary flower.
So, are you planning to grow this beautiful flower in your backyard? Let us know in the comment section.