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Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2]. The fruit has an aromatic flavour[3], it can be eaten fresh when ripe or can be dried and is then used as an aromatic food flavouring, especially in the Middle East[4][5][6]. It can also be made into an acid drink[7][8]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[9].

The leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked savoury dishes[6]. The dried fruits and flower buds are used to flavour sauces, syrups etc[10]. An essential oil from the leaves and twigs is used as a condiment, especially when mixed with other spices[10].

In Italy the flower buds are eaten[10]. The flowers have a sweet flavour and are used in salads[3].

Unknown part



Material uses

The plant is very tolerant of regular clipping[9] and can be grown as a hedge in the milder parts of Britain[11][9].

An essential oil from the bark, leaves and flowers is used in perfumery, soaps and skin-care products[7][12][6]. An average yield of 10g of oil is obtained from 100 kilos of leaves[4]. A perfumed water, known as \"eau d'ange\", is obtained from the flowers[3]. A high quality charcoal is made from the wood[7].

Wood - hard, elastic, very fine grained. Used for walking sticks, tool handles, furniture etc[5][7].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The leaves are aromatic, balsamic, haemostatic and tonic[4][5]. Recent research has revealed a substance in the plant that has an antibiotic action[4]. The active ingredients in myrtle are rapidly absorbed and give a violet-like scent to the urine within 15 minutes[6]. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of urinary infections, digestive problems, vaginal discharge, bronchial congestion, sinusitis and dry coughs[6][13]. In India it is considered to be useful in the treatment of cerebral affections, especially epilepsy[14]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of acne (the essential oil is normally used here), wounds, gum infections and haemorrhoids[6]. The leaves are picked as required and used fresh or dried[6].

An essential oil obtained from the plant is antiseptic[14]. It contains the substance myrtol - this is used as a remedy for gingivitis[4]. The oil is used as a local application in the treatment of rheumatism[14].

The fruit is carminative[14]. It is used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, internal ulceration and rheumatism[14].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions



Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow it in late winter in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[K].

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in the autumn and overwinter in a cold frame. Plant out in late spring. High percentage[15]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, 7 - 12cm with a heel, November in a shaded and frost free frame. Plant out in late spring or early autumn. High percentage[15].


Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Myrtus communis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in any reasonably good soil so long as it is well-drained[16]. Prefers a moderately fertile well-drained neutral to alkaline loam in a sunny position[17][9][6]. Succeeds in dry soils.

A very ornamental plant[16], when fully dormant it is hardy to between -10 and -15°c[18], so long as it is sheltered from cold drying winds[9], though it does withstand quite considerable maritime exposure[K]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. This species does not succeed outdoors in the colder parts of Britain[17][19]. A moderately fast-growing plant when young but soon slowing with age[20]. There are a number of named varieties[10]. 'Tarentina' with narrow small leaves is hardier than the type and is especially wind-resistant[21][9], 'Microphylla' is a dwarf form and 'Leucocarpa' has white berries[21]. Myrtle is often cultivated in the Mediterranean[4], where the plant is regarded as a symbol of love and peace[7] and is much prized for use in wedding bouquets[21]. The foliage is strongly aromatic[18]. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[6].

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[9].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Myrtus communis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Myrtus communis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Myrtus communis
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  3. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  4. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  5. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  6. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  7. ? Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
  9. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  10. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Woodcock. and Coutts. Lilies - Their Culture and Management. Country Life (1935-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  14. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  17. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
  19. ? Arnold-Forster. Shrubs for the Milder Counties. ()
  20. ? Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
  21. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  22. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)

Facts about "Myrtus communis"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyMyrtaceae +
Belongs to genusMyrtus +
Functions asHedge +
Has binomial nameMyrtus communis +
Has common nameMyrtle +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +, Flowers + and Fruit +
Has edible useCondiment +, Drink + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure + and High wind +
Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Bees +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has growth rateModerate +
Has hardiness zone8 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useCharcoal + and Essential +
Has mature height4.5 +
Has mature width3 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAntibiotic +, Antiseptic +, Aromatic +, Astringent +, Balsamic +, Carminative +, Haemostatic + and Tonic +
Has search namemyrtus communis + and myrtle +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameMyrtus communis +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis +, Myrtus communis + and Myrtus communis +