Myrtle

/merr"tl/, n.
a female given name.

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Any of the evergreen shrubs in the genus Myrtus (family Myrtaceae).

Authorities differ widely over the number of species included; most occur in South America, while some are found in Australia and New Zealand. Common myrtle (M. communis) is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East and is cultivated in southern England and the warmer portions of North America. Other plants known as myrtle include the mountain laurel and periwinkle. The family Myrtaceae, commonly called the myrtle family, includes the plants that produce the spices allspice and cloves, and the genus Eucalyptus. See also crape myrtle.

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▪ plant genus
      any of the evergreen shrubs in the genus Myrtus, belonging to the family Myrtaceae. Authorities differ widely over the number of species the genus includes. Most occur in South America; some are found in Australia and New Zealand. True myrtles have a central midrib and a major vein just inside and parallel to the leaf margin.

      The aromatic common myrtle (M. communis) is native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East and is cultivated in southern England and the warmer regions of North America. In Greco-Roman antiquity, the common myrtle was held to be sacred to Venus and was used as an emblem of love in wreaths and other decorations.

      The plant may grow more than 5 m (about 16.5 feet) high. The opposite leaves are thick and lustrous, with many small, translucent, oil-bearing glands. The solitary white flowers, about 1.8 cm (about 0.7 inch) long, are borne on short stalks. The fruit is a purplish black, many-seeded berry. Myrtol, a volatile oil found in most parts of the plant, was formerly used as an antiseptic and tonic.

      Variegated, yellow-fruited, and white-fruited varieties of the common myrtle are cultivated for ornament. Other plants known as myrtles are wax myrtle, bog myrtle (or sweet gale), crape myrtle, sand myrtle, gum myrtle, downy myrtle, and the mountain laurel of Oregon and California, the wood of which is often sold as “myrtle.” The creeping, or running, myrtle is the periwinkle.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Myrtle — ist der Name mehrerer Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Myrtle (Georgia) Myrtle (Idaho) Myrtle (Illinois) Myrtle (Minnesota) Myrtle (Mississippi) Myrtle (Missouri) Myrtle (Pennsylvania) Myrtle (Virginia) Myrtle (West Virginia) Myrtle Head (North… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MYRTLE — (Heb. הֲדַס; Hadas), Myrtus communis, a shrub, and occasionally a tree, possessing fragrant and glossy leaves. It grows wild on Mount Carmel and in Upper Galilee, and its use as a decorative shrub is widespread. The leaves usually grow in series… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Myrtle — Myr tle (m[ e]r t l), n. [F. myrtil bilberry, prop., a little myrtle, from myrte myrtle, L. myrtus, murtus, Gr. my rtos; cf. Per. m[=u]rd.] (Bot.) A species of the genus {Myrtus}, especially {Myrtus communis}. The common myrtle has a shrubby,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Myrtle — puede referirse a: Myrtle la llorona, personaje ficticio del universo de Harry Potter. Localidades de Estados Unidos: Myrtle (Minnesota) Myrtle (Misisipi) Myrtle Beach North Myrtle Beach Esta página de desa …   Wikipedia Español

  • Myrtle — Myrtle, MN U.S. city in Minnesota Population (2000): 63 Housing Units (2000): 36 Land area (2000): 0.103924 sq. miles (0.269163 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.103924 sq. miles (0.269163 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • myrtle — (n.) c.1400, from O.Fr. mirtile, from M.L. myrtillus, dim. of L. myrtus myrtle tree, from Gk. myrtos the myrtle, a sprig of myrtle, from same Semitic source as Gk. myrrha (see MYRRH (Cf. myrrh)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Myrtle, MN — U.S. city in Minnesota Population (2000): 63 Housing Units (2000): 36 Land area (2000): 0.103924 sq. miles (0.269163 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.103924 sq. miles (0.269163 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Myrtle, MS — U.S. town in Mississippi Population (2000): 407 Housing Units (2000): 183 Land area (2000): 0.568773 sq. miles (1.473116 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.568773 sq. miles (1.473116 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • myrtle — [mʉrt′ l] n. [ME mirtille < OFr myrtille < ML myrtillus, dim. < L myrtus < Gr myrtos, myrtle, prob. < Sem; ? akin to Ar murr, myrrh] 1. any of a genus (Myrtus) of plants of the myrtle family, with evergreen leaves, white or pinkish …   English World dictionary

  • Myrtle — [mʉrt′ l] n. [< MYRTLE] a feminine name …   English World dictionary

  • Myrtle — f English: from the word denoting the plant (Old French myrtille, Late Latin myrtilla, a diminutive of classical Latin myrta). This is one of the group of plant names that became popular as female names in the late 19th century …   First names dictionary

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