The Botanical Characteristics of Myrtle Flowers

Common myrtles are attractive evergreen shrubs from the Myrtaceae family. Myrtles are famous for their white flowers that carry rich meaning and symbolism. In this article, I’ll discuss what common myrtle flowers look like and examine some of their other botanical characteristics.

What Do Common Myrtle Flowers Look Like?

What Do Myrtle Flowers Look Like?

White common myrtle flowers in bloom displaying soft petals and long stamens with white filaments topped with yellow anthers

Common Myrtle shrubs (Myrtus communis) produce small single white flowers with several long stamens. These stamens have white filaments topped with yellow anthers that protrude up from the flower. Each star-shaped flower has five petals, some of which may display slight hints of pink. Myrtle flowers are a vital summer nectar source for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Other Botanical Characteristics of Myrtle Flowers

Myrtle branches in bloom with waxy green leaves and pure white flowers

Myrtles are evergreen shrubs or small trees from the Myrtus genus in the Myrtaceae family. There are three main species, of which the common myrtle is the most widespread. Myrtle plants grow between 8 and 16 feet high and approximately 8 to 10 feet wide.

Common myrtle shrubs have simple, lanceolate green leaves with a strong scent. This sweet, fresh fragrance is similar to eucalyptus – another member of the Myrtaceae family. Once the white flowers have finished, myrtle plants produce purplish-black berries in winter.

Myrtle shrubs are slow-growing plants that take 10 to 20 years to reach full size. Myrtle plants grow by approximately 12 inches yearly, so they’re easy to manage. Common myrtles can live for decades in the right conditions, with some specimens living for about 150 years.

Where Do Myrtle Flowers Come From?

A white myrtle flower in bloom with pink stamens

Myrtle shrubs are native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. Myrtles also grow in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent. Myrtle plants grow best in warm climates with mild winters.

In the United States, common myrtle shrubs thrive in USDA Zones 8 to 10. Despite preferring warm climates, myrtles are surprisingly cold-hardy and can survive winter temperatures as low as 10ºF (-12ºC).

When Are Myrtle Flowers in Season?

Myrtle flowers bloom from summer until fall. The flowers can appear as early as June, and flowering can last until October. Common myrtles growing in warmer climates will flower slightly earlier than those growing in colder areas.

Myrtle Flower Appearance FAQs

What is Another Name for Myrtle Flowers?

Common myrtle flowers are sometimes called “true myrtles” to separate them from the unrelated crepe myrtle. Common myrtle flowers are also called Corsican pepper or sweet myrtle.

What Time of Year Does Myrtle Flower?

Common myrtles bloom from summer until fall. The white flowers emerge as early as June and can remain until October. Common myrtle shrubs only produce one flush of flowers each year.

What Do Common Myrtle Flowers Look Like: Wrapping Up

Common myrtle shrubs have small white single flowers with several long stamens. These flowers have five petals. Some petals may also have subtle hints of pink. Common myrtles flower during summer and fall before giving way to purplish-black berries in winter and early spring.

For more, see our in-depth guide to growing and caring for lemon myrtle and crape myrtle.

Contributing Editor | edd@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

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