The Myrtle (Myrtus communis), also called True Myrtle, is the star of the annual Fira de ses Herbes, celebrated again in the pueblo of Selva last weekend. The Myrtle (Catalan: Murta, Castellano: Arrayán) is a prominent tree in Mediterranean woodlands where it flowers at the beginning of Summer (see photo above). The white flowers, green leaves and blue berries are all very fragrant. The myrtle berries (see photo below) are edible. Leaves can be used in the making of colognes or skin tonics. In France, an aromatic water is distilled from leaves and flowers. Leaves, berries and twigs can be employed in the flavouring of food and wines, and the leaves are said to make a good tea. The Myrtle berry (sometimes called Sweet Myrtle) can be distilled into a pleasant liqueur. The wood of the Myrtle tree is hard and is used for furniture making, in the automobile industry as well as for art sculptures.
The Myrtle is emblematic to the Mediterranean culture. The plant was a symbol of love and immortality. As such, it was considered to be one of the symbols of Venus and also, of Jupiter. The plant was the emblem of honour and authority in ancient Greece, where it was used as the wreaths of the Olympian victors. In the Jewish religion, the Myrtle was used in nuptial ceremonies. Kabbalists use Myrtle sprigs to draw down its harmonizing power as the week is initiated. Islamic tradition has it that this plant was amongst the pure things carried out from the Garden of Eden by Adam.
The plant was used extensively in the olden days and was considered an all-important plant. The Myrtle was used in traditional medicine and in many herbal remedies, as an astringent, an antiseptic, a decongestant and a vulnerary.
The photo (top) was taken in Selva, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 13th, 2010. The time was 11:46:58. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, thanks to the German Wikipedia.