Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Key to families | Table of families and genera
Previous taxon Index to accepted names and synonyms:
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Next taxon
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
Jepson Online Interchange

Previous taxon: Myrtus
Next taxon: Syzygium

Name Search


Citation for this treatment: Leslie R. Landrum 2016. Myrtus communis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2016.

Geographic subdivisions for Myrtus communis:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.