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Related to myrtles: wax myrtles, crepe myrtles


common name for the Myrtaceae, a family of shrubs and trees almost entirely of tropical regions, especially in America and Australia. The family is characterized by leaves (usually evergreen) containing aromatic volatile oils. Many have showy blossoms. Although of lesser importance in the United States, the family is of considerable economic value throughout the world for timber, gums and resins, oils, spices, and edible fruits.

The true myrtle genus (Myrtus) is predominantly of the American tropics, but the classical myrtle (M. communis) is native to the Mediterranean area. It is a strongly scented bush whose glossy leaves and blue-black berries were made into wreaths for victors in the ancient Olympic games. (In America several unrelated plants are also called myrtles, e.g., the sand myrtle of the heathheath,
in botany, common name for some members of the Ericaceae, a family of chiefly evergreen shrubs with berry or capsule fruits. Plants of the heath family form the characteristic vegetation of many regions with acid soils, particularly the moors, swamps, and mountain slopes
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 family, the periwinkles of the dogbanedogbane,
common name for some members of the Apocynaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees found in most parts of the world but especially in the tropics, where they are often climbing forms. Many species are native to or naturalized in North America.
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 family, and several species of the bayberry family.) Among the many trees of the myrtle family yielding edible fruit, only the guavaguava
, small evergreen tree or shrub of the genus Psidium of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family), native to tropical America and grown elsewhere for its ornamental flowers and edible fruit.
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 (genus Psidium), native to tropical America, is grown commercially in the United States.

The most important spice plants of the family are the cloveclove,
name for a small evergreen tree (Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family) and for its unopened flower bud, an important spice.
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 tree (Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata), native to the Moluccas and the Spice Islands, and the tropical American Pimenta genus that includes the pimentopimento
or allspice,
common names for a tree (Pimenta dioica or P. officinalis) of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family) cultivated in the West Indies for its dried unripe berries, used medicinally and as a spice (also called pimento or allspice).
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 or allspice (P. officinalis or dioica) and the bay rum tree (P. racemosa), source of an oil used as an ingredient of bay rumbay rum,
aromatic liquid used chiefly as a cosmetic and a perfume. It originated in the West Indies, where it was prepared by distillation from rum and bay leaves. It is now commonly a mixture of oil of bay (from a bayberry), alcohol, water, oil of pimento, and oil of orange peel.
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. Some hardwood members of the myrtle family are among the many trees known as ironwood, e.g., Eugenia confusa, of Florida and tropical America.

Eucalyptus, a large genus of evergreen shrubs and trees, is a characteristic component of the flora in its native Australia, where its species are the leafy haunt and sole food source of the koala, often associated with it in story. Among its many species' common names are ironbark, stringybark, and gum, ash, and box (names also applied to many unrelated trees). Numerous species, especially the Tasmanian blue gum (E. globulus), are now naturalized in the W United States and have become the distinctive vegetation of many California areas that were previously treeless. Several species are among the tallest trees known, e.g., E. regnans, known as the mountain ash or giant ash, the tallest flowering tree, which reaches a height of over 300 ft (91 m). The generally accepted record for the tallest mountain ash is 375 ft (114.3 m), for a tree that was felled in 1881. Eucalyptus trees are a valuable source of timber, of kinos (a resinous substance used in medicines and tanning), and of eucalyptol and other essential and medicinal oils.

The myrtle family is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Myrtales.

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A small shrubby tree that grows to 15 ft (5m) with simple pointy oval leaves with 5 petal flowers that are usually white. Blue-black berries (sometimes orange-yellow) with usually 3 seeds. Contains pleasant smelling oil used to treat sinus problems, bronchitis, colds, coughs, bad breath, herpes simplex.


to Renaissance, its perpetual greenness symbolized everlasting love. [Art: Hall, 219]
See: Love


1. any evergreen shrub or tree of the myrtaceous genus Myrtus, esp M. communis, a S European shrub with pink or white flowers and aromatic blue-black berries
2. short for crape myrtle
3. bog myrtle
4. creeping or trailing myrtle US and Canadian another name for periwinkle (the plant)


an ancient region in the NW corner of Asia Minor
References in periodicals archive ?
This is the first case found on the West Coast but is not a surprise, as it was identified as an area where myrtle rust would likely become established.
Our recent focus has been on developing resources for communities, landowners and nurseries so that people can identify the disease and know what to do if they find it." Myrtle rust is a fungal disease from South America that affects trees in the myrtle family, including natives such as p?hutukawa, r?t?, m?nuka and ramarama as well as exotics like bottlebrush and lilly pilly.
Purpose: Biological Control of melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum), and downy rose myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
Matt Purcell--a collaborating entomologist and leader of the Australian Biocontrol Laboratory in Brisbane--and I set out to look for Old World climbing fern and downy rose myrtle sites in parks and along roadsides.
While summer and winter are indeed the primary expos for crape myrtles, spring and fall are not without their own allures.
Throughout the South, where cool-season color change is minimal in native trees, crape myrtles take center stage.
The city provided 1,100 crepe myrtle, sawtooth oak, and loblolly pine seedlings and 16 more mature trees that were planted by Georgia Forestry Commission foresters, 40 probationers, and other volunteers.
Plant selection includes a palette of eye-catching seasonal colors: spring's Japanese cherry trees and pink flowering crabapples accentuated by white dogwoods and yellow forsythia; summer's red crepe myrtle blossoms and pastel daylilies; oaks, magnolias, sycamores, birches, maples, and hickories--their leaves splashing yellow, gold, and red along autumn highways; and winter's evergreen pines and cedars.
Biosecurity New Zealand (part of the Ministry for Primary Industries) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are encouraging the public to check their local myrtle plants this summer to help track the spread of the fungal disease myrtle rust.
New Zealand's precious native myrtle plants including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, kanuka and ramarama are vulnerable to the disease.
A striking type of pink crape myrtle could soon be gracing lawns and gardens in southern Florida because of a chance discovery by Agricultural Research Service scientists.
Commonly called Pride-of-India or queen's crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia speciosa is a species of crape myrtle native to India and Southeast Asia that has been cultivated as an ornamental in tropical areas worldwide.