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    Vascular Plants of California
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Myrtus communis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MyrtaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: [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).
Genera In Family: 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). Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Leslie R. Landrum, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MyrtusView Description 

Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: 1 (perhaps 2) species: Mediterranean. Etymology: (Ancient Greek name)

Myrtus communis L.
Stem: < 6 m, trunk +- contorted, gray to orange-brown. Leaf: 0.8--4.5, ovate or lanceolate to elliptic, acute to acuminate, thinly leathery, dark green adaxially. Flower: < 2.5 cm wide; petals round to ovate, white, spreading, adaxially concave; stamens forming a dense ring, +- = petals. Fruit: < 12 mm wide.
Ecology: Disturbed wet areas; Elevation: 740 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRI; Distribution Outside California: native to Mediterranean, naturalized Louisiana, Texas, potentially escaping in humid, non-freezing areas in North America. Note: Often cultivated in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Leslie R. Landrum
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Citation for this treatment: Leslie R. Landrum 2012, Myrtus communis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 18, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 18, 2018.

Geographic subdivisions for Myrtus communis:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.