Myrtus

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Myrtus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/myrtus/). Accessed 2021-11-30.

Family

  • Myrtaceae

Common Names

  • Myrtle

Glossary

ovary
Lowest part of the carpel containing the ovules; later developing into the fruit.
axillary
Situated in an axil.
berry
Fleshy indehiscent fruit with seed(s) immersed in pulp.
calyx
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
entire
With an unbroken margin.
family
A group of genera more closely related to each other than to genera in other families. Names of families are identified by the suffix ‘-aceae’ (e.g. Myrtaceae) with a few traditional exceptions (e.g. Leguminosae).
glandular
Bearing glands.
section
(sect.) Subdivision of a genus.
style
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.

References

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Myrtus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/myrtus/). Accessed 2021-11-30.

Of the species treated in this work under Myrtus only one, M. communis (the common myrtle), would remain in the genus if all the segregate genera were to be recognised. The genus in the wide sense has been broken up chiefly on seed and embryo characters coupled with geographical distribution. The difficulty is that the so-called generic characters are not very convincing, and, moreover, those derived from seeds and embryos are not known for many species. A further difficulty is the lack of a comprehensive study of the family and the fact that genera have been segregated by botanists working only on a section of the family, or the representatives of it in one geographical area. The last worldwide study of the family was made by George Bentham, whose conclusions are set out in Bentham & Hooker fil., Genera Plantarum, Vol. 1 (1865), pp. 690-725, and in Journ. Linn. Soc., Vol. 10 (1869),’pp. 101-166. He retained under Myrtus the species dealt with here, and until another comprehensive account is available it seems best to follow that meticulous and erudite botanist. Comments on the segregate genera will be found under the species concerned.

The leading characters of the species described here are: evergreen shrubs or trees with opposite, entire, glandular-punctate leaves. Flowers white (sometimes slightly tinged with pink), axillary, solitary or in few-flowered clusters. Sepals and petals four or five. Stamens numerous (except in M. nummularia). Ovary enclosed in the calyx-tube, with a single style. Fruits berry-like, crowned by the persistent calyx.