Plants

Myrtle plant

Introduction

It is a typical plant of Mediterranean countries, well known and appreciated for its aromatic properties. We are talking about myrtle, a species that grows spontaneously in the Mediterranean scrub. Subject of intensive cultivation in the regions of Southern Italy, this plant is also of considerable ornamental interest that allows its cultivation even in private gardens. Its luxuriant vegetation, the bearing, the shape and the color of the flowers make it particularly suitable for gardens with a rustic and rural style, where it can be grown as a bush or as a sapling in a solitary area of ​​the outdoor space, or to create a hedge. with a natural and intensely colored appearance.

Features


Myrtle is a rustic shrub species native to the Mediterranean areas. Belonging to the myrtaceae family, the plant has a fairly small stem that rarely exceeds six in height. The standard dimensions of a plant belonging to this genus are between fifty centimeters and 3 and a half meters. This tree species appears as a shrub of very small proportions or as a sapling with a bark that goes from red to gray according to the degree of development of the plant. Young plants have a reddish bark, while older ones have an ash-gray woody part. The leaves are opposite, long, oval, without hair, glossy and dark green in the upper margin, while the flowers are solitary, with a long peduncle, fragrant and white or pink. The shape of the flowers is very particular: closed they look like pears on the contrary, open they protrude with a large radial chalice inside which there are long filaments (stamens) that form the male part of the flower. In the middle of the stamens there are also the inferior ovaries, that is formed by a small cup that contains the female parts of the flower. The fruits are reddish, sometimes white, sometimes purplish berries. Their remarkable persistence on the plant increases their aesthetic and ornamental yield. that is, formed by a small cup that contains the female parts of the flower. The fruits are reddish, sometimes white, sometimes purplish berries. Their remarkable persistence on the plant increases their aesthetic and ornamental yield. that is, formed by a small cup that contains the female parts of the flower. The fruits are reddish, sometimes white, sometimes purplish berries. Their remarkable persistence on the plant increases their aesthetic and ornamental yield.

Variety


Myrtle includes several varieties. Some well known, others less so. The best known are three, to which are added a series of hybrids obtained to enhance the production of berries, from which the renowned myrtle liqueur is obtained. Overall, there are a hundred distinct varieties of this genus. Among these we remember the best known and cultivated ones: Myrtus Communis variegata, Myrtus Bullata and Myrtus Luma. Myrtus Communis variegata has a stem that can reach four and a half meters in height. It is mainly cultivated for ornamental purposes and has very fragrant flowers and leaves crossed by subtle cream-colored shades. Myrtus Bullata, on the other hand, is native to New Zealand, has a three meter high stem and has dark red fruits. Myrtus Luma comes from Chile, it is perhaps one of the largest varieties: the stem can even exceed five meters in height. Genetic engineering has had a significant impact on the different varieties. Several botanical laboratories have experimented with hybrids that allow a greater productive yield of the fruits, from which the myrtle liqueur is obtained. The spontaneous plant, in fact, with the normal natural production is not able to satisfy the growing needs of the liquor market.

Maturation


Myrtle blooms mainly between spring and summer. The flowering shoots bloom between May and July, but in some cases they can also develop in late summer and early autumn. In areas with a mild climate, this shrub can bloom even in October. This phenomenon gives rise to the so-called re-flowering or double flowering. In the hybrid varieties created for production purposes, action is taken to limit the double re-flowering of the plant, a phenomenon that is considered negative for the future development of the berries. In general, excessive flowering of the plant almost always comes at the expense of fruit production. In home gardening, however, this feature is considered positive because the abundant blooms of the plant have remarkable decorative effects. The disadvantage of this excessive vigor is that the plant tends to expand and grow in a disorderly manner, forcing it to intervene with adequate pruning. The berries or fruits, on the other hand, appear from November to January and remain for many months on the stem of the plant, enriching with their colored “peel” not only the aesthetic rendering of the plants, but also of the bushes and hedges where it is usually placed .

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