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Myrtus communis foliage and flowers
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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > Magnoliophyta > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > Magnoliopsida > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Myrtales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Myrtaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Myrtaceae (from the genus Myrtus derived from the classical name myrtle, which probably meant perfume). Myrtle Family. Fig. 43. Usually shrubby or arborescent aromatically fragrant plants: leaves usually opposite, thick, entire and pellucid-dotted: flowers bisexual, regular, rarely perigynous; sepals mostly 4-5, imbricated; petals 4-5, imbricated; stamens very numerous by splitting, often in fascicles which are opposite the petals; ovary inferior, 1- to many-celled: fruit usually a berry, rarely a drupe or nut; seeds 1- to many.

The 72 genera and 2,750 species are confined almost entirely to the tropics, but with two great centers of distribution, one in tropical America and the other in Australia. Eugenia contains 625 species, and Eucalyptus more than 130 species. This is a large family related to the Melastomaceae, Onagraceae, and Lythraceae. The very numerous stamens, derived by the splitting of the few original stamens, and the oil-glands are distinctive. The petals of Eucalyptus remain firmly grown together, and, when the flower opens, they separate along a transverse line and are thrown off as a lid.

The Myrtaceae are rich in volatile oils; also in tannin, acids, sugars, mucilage, and fixed oils. Cloves are the flower-buds of Jambosa caryophyllus. The fruit of Pimenta officinalis is thought to combine the flavors of the nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, and is therefore termed allspice. Psidium Guajava is a tree cultivated in the tropics for the much-prized fruits. Oil of myrica is obtained from the leaves of Pimenta acris of the West Indies, and is used in making bay rum. Oil of cajeput, a fragrant oil used in medicine, is secured from the leaves and twigs of the East Indian Melaleuca Leucadendron. The leaves of the European myrtle (Myrtus communis) yield a distilled preparation known as eau-d'ange, used as a toilet article. Other edible fruits are rose apples (Jambosa malaccensis and J. vulgaris) of the East Indies and Pacific Ocean. Jambos berries are obtained from Jambosa vulgaris, which is extensively cultivated in the tropics. Oil of eucalyptus is an important aromatic oil obtained from the foliage of various species of that genus. The wood of Eucalyptus is hard, firm and elastic, and is much prized in wood-carving. Many other species of this family are in use locally for food, condiments, medicine, timber, and so on.

About 20 genera are in cultivation in North America, mostly in the South or Southwest. Among these are the Bottle-brush (Callistemon), Cajaput Tree (Mela-leuca), Eucalyptus or Australian Blue-gum, Rose Apple or Jambos (Jambosa), Cayenne Cherry (Eugenia), Myrtle (Myrtus), Guava (Psidium), Allspice, Pimento (Pimenta), Brisbane Box (Tristania), Turpentine Tree (Syncarpia), and Downy Myrtle (Rhodomyrtus).CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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