The myrtle flower blossoms from the myrtus genus, which is a member of the myrtaceae family. This genus consists of about two species that are native to areas of north Africa and southern Europe. The myrtle flower grows from a small tree or shrub which sprouts shiny, whole leaves. The flowers themselves are generally small and contain five sepals and petals, as well as several stamens. Although the flower heads are most commonly white, their fruit – which consists of a heavily-seeded blue black berry – can sometimes add a dash of extra color.
Although the myrtle flower and tree are known for their many uses – from spicing up a meat dish, to adding a bit of sweetness to perfume – they are best known for their place in mythology and magic. The two best known tales tell of Adonis and Aphrodite. Adonis’s story states that his mother, Myrrha – daughter of the king Theias of Assyria – tried to escape from the clutches of her tyrannical parentage, and so the goddess Aphrodite turned her into a myrtle tree. Theias, still quite angry with his daughter, shot an arrow into the trunk of the tree, which shattered the bark. From the newly made hole, Adonis sprang forth. The story of Aphrodite is connected with that of Adonis. Finding the infant, she fell in love with it; when he grew older, she became smitten with him. Knowing his origins, she named the myrtle tree as one of her sacred plants. The myrtle flower has several other, looser, connections with Greek myth. For instance, Erato – the muse of marriage and love – wore a crown of roses and myrtle, while Phaedra – an enchantress – became a minor goddess that was associated with myrtle, as well as barley, the moon and rain. In magic, these flowers are commonly used as a sign of respect to the goddess of love, Venus. They are also frequently made into love charms, and placed in love spells.
It is not uncommon to see the myrtle flower given as a gift during weddings – this is due to the fact that its main symbol is marital fidelity, as well as simple, uncomplicated love. Other people believe that these blossoms symbolize good luck in relationships, prosperity, and a long, happy life. It is not unusual for these flowers to be traded amongst friends to express the wish that the recipient receive all of the joys that life has to offer.
Myrtle Flower Pictures
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