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MYRTACEAE MYRTLE FAMILY

Leslie R. Landrum, except as noted

[Subshrub] shrub, tree, trunk bark smooth or scaly; glands 0 or embedded in epidermis. Leaf: opposite or alternate, persistent, generally glandular when young. Inflorescence: generally axillary, raceme, panicle, cyme, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, parts in 4s, 5s, generally ± white; hypanthium exceeding ovary or not; stamens generally many; ovary [rarely superior to] inferior, 2–5(18)-chambered; placentas axillary, just below top, or basal, ovules few to many, generally in 2–many series. Fruit: berry, capsule, nut. Seed: 1–many; coat membranous to ± leathery or hard, bony; embryo starchy or oily (of great taxonomic importance).
100 genera, ± 3500 species: many species tropical America, Australasia, fewer Africa, southern Asia; economically important for timber (Eucalyptus), spices (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry, cloves; Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr., allspice), edible fruits (Psidium guajava L., guava; Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret, pineapple guava), many orns (Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, several other genera). [McVaugh 1968 Taxon 17:354–418] Apparently of Gondwanan origins; tropics, subtropics, Mediterranean climates. Chamelaucium uncinatum Schauer, Luma apiculata (DC.) Burret, Melaleuca citrina (Curtis) Dum.Cours., Myrtus communis L., Syzygium australe (Link) B. Hyland are waifs. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [McVaugh 1968 Taxon 17:354–418; Wilson et al. 2005 Plant Syst Evol 251:3–19]

Key to Myrtaceae

MYRTUS
Shrub, small tree. Stem: erect or leaning; bark shed in small flakes; trunk rough. Leaf: generally opposite. Inflorescence: flowers 1 in axils, pedicelled. Flower: hypanthium ± obconic; calyx lobes, petals 5, free; stamens many; ovary chambers 2–3; style < 1 cm. Fruit: berry, < 1 cm, blue-purple. Seed: ± flattened, snailshell-like, outer rim of seed coat shiny, hard, only a few cells thick, easily broken; central portion of seed often soft; embryo a C-shaped cylinder, ± 2 × cotyledons in length.
1 (perhaps 2) species: Mediterranean. (Ancient Greek name)

Previous taxon: Melaleuca viminalis
Next taxon: Myrtus communis

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Dec 21 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Myrtus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=68908, accessed on Dec 21 2014

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