Myrtle Flowers The Meanings That Won the Love of Many

Myrtle Flowers: The Meanings That Won the Love of Many

Do you ever wonder why bridal bouquets, especially those for English brides, often have myrtle flowers? Many might think it’s because of their beautiful, glossy petals and fragrant scent, but it’s actually more than that.

This practice actually started with Queen Victoria and became a tradition for the brides of the British royal family. The reason behind this practice all lies in the many meanings and cultural significance of myrtle flowers.

If you’re curious about it, we’ll dive more into the meanings and cultural significance of myrtle flowers in this guide.

How did the myrtle flower get its name?

How did the myrtle flower get its name

The name myrtle is said to be derived from the Semitic root “m-r-r,” meaning “bitter,” the same root as myrrh, a gum resin used for ritual purification. Some also say it’s coined from the Greek word “myrtos,” meaning “sprig.”

It’s worth noting that myrtle flowers are not related to crape myrtles, despite them having the same name. They are from two different plant families that just happen to have similar names.

What is the botanical origin of the myrtle flower?

What is the botanical origin of the myrtle flower

Myrtle, botanically known as Myrtus, is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the Myrtaceae family. These flowers originated in the Mediterranean region and North Africa.

Three species are recognized under the Myrtus genus: Myrtus communis, Myrtus nivellei, and Myrtus phyllireaefolia. There were previously over 600 species in the genus, but almost all of them were later transferred to other genera.

Myrtus communis is known as the common myrtle and is what most people think of when they hear “myrtle flower.” It’s native to the Mediterranean region but is now grown almost everywhere.

Where do myrtle flowers grow? 

Myrtle flowers are native to the Mediterranean region and North Africa. However, due to their hardiness, they can grow in regions beyond their native habitat, like Macaronesia and Asia. 

Many myrtle plants can be found in coastal hills and scrublands with mild climates. However, they can also be grown as ornamental shrubs in gardens.

Do myrtle flowers require a lot of maintenance?

Myrtle flowers are relatively low maintenance and easy to care for. They can thrive with adequate sunlight and regular watering.

Do myrtle flowers need shade or sun?

Myrtle flowers can thrive in full sun or partial shade, so they can adapt to various conditions. 

However, if you live in areas with extremely hot summers, it’s better to provide shade during the sun’s peak to avoid scorching their leaves.

When do myrtle flowers bloom? 

Myrtles typically bloom in spring to summer. This usually runs from May through July if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, where the flowers mostly grow.

What kind of soil do myrtle flowers prefer?

Myrtle flowers thrive in well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. Sandy and loamy soil are ideal since they’re less likely to get waterlogged.

When is the best time to plant myrtle flowers?

Most gardeners suggest planting myrtle flowers in early spring to take advantage of the growing season. This timing gives them enough time to establish their roots before the heat of the summer.

What do myrtle flowers mean?

What do myrtle flowers mean

Myrtle flowers carry symbols that vary across different religions, traditions, and periods. Hence, it’s important to take different backgrounds when gifting these flowers.

Their specific symbolism can also be influenced by the color of their petals. 

Generally, they symbolize love, beauty, purity, joy, and celebration.

What do the colors of myrtle flowers mean?

What do the colors of myrtle flowers mean
WhiteLike most white flowers, white myrtles are linked to purity and innocence.

Recommended Use: White myrtles are the perfect fillers for wedding bouquets. Aside from being a traditional addition to wedding bouquets, they also symbolize the purity of the couple's love.

PinkPink is often considered a romantic color, so pink myrtles are also seen as symbols of romance and love. They're also associated with femininity and gentleness.

Recommended Use: A bouquet of pink myrtles can surely make your lover break into a smile if you give it to them during your anniversary or date.

FuschiaFuschia is a darker shade of pink, so myrtles with this color have a bolder symbolism than pink myrtles.

They symbolize confidence and grace.

That said, they're also often linked to femininity, as they're still a shade of pink.

Recommended Use: Fuschia myrtles can be the best gift you can give to a woman if you want to express your admiration and respect.

Consider preparing them for your teacher, mother, grandmother, and aunt.

PurplePurple has been historically associated with royalty and luxury, so it's no wonder that purple myrtle flowers symbolize regality, respect, power, and elegance.

Recommended Use: Adorn your corporate events or meetings with purple myrtle flowers.

They're sophisticated and exude power, making them perfect for these types of events.

What did the myrtle symbolize in various historical periods?

What did the myrtle symbolize in various historical periods
Ancient GreeceIn ancient Greece, myrtle flowers were widely associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

The goddess is often depicted wearing a crown made of myrtle.

It was also believed that Aphrodite had myrtle trees planted in her temple gardens.

The flowers' connection to Aphrodite led many ancient Greeks to associate the flower with love, pleasure, and beauty.

Ancient RomeMany of the beliefs and philosophies of ancient Romans were adopted from ancient Greek traditions, so myrtles had a similar symbolism in both civilizations.

Ancient Romans also saw myrtle flowers as symbols of love, beauty, and pleasure.

The flower is closely associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

According to a popular myth, Venus was born from the sea and emerged carrying a sprig of myrtle.

In another legend, Venus used a myrtle tree to hide her nakedness while visiting the Isle of Cytheraea.

Victorian EraMyrtle flowers were first considered symbols of love and passion in England during Queen Victoria's reign.

During the Queen's wedding, her bouquet had myrtles in it.

The myrtles were afterward planted in the Queen's backyard and grown into mature trees.

Since then, royals have included myrtles in their wedding bouquets.

The practice also became popular with many English brides.

Until today, the flower is seen as a symbol of love and is still incorporated in many wedding bouquets.

Many European countries have also started to follow the tradition of adding myrtle to wedding bouquets.

What are the spiritual or religious meanings of the myrtle flower?

What are the spiritual or religious meanings of the myrtle flower
ChristianityMyrtle flowers are associated with celebration, happiness, and positivity in Christianity.

This is because the Bible mentions the flower during feasts or positive stories.

In Isaiah 55:13, myrtle is used metaphorically to convey the transformation of the land from dissolution to flourishing under the Lord's favor.

Myrtle is a positive symbol, indicating a change from hardship to prosperity.

Some Christians also believe St. John picked leaves from myrtle trees and extracted oil.

This oil is said to be the one used to baptize Jesus.

JudaismIn Judaism, myrtle is used as a symbol of righteousness, purity, and goodwill.

This is because many religious texts used myrtle's fragrance spreading to its surroundings as a metaphor for spreading good deeds.

Myrtle, Hadassah in Hebrew, is also one of the four plants used during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, a festival commemorating the end of the agricultural year.

The other three species are etrog (citron), lulav (palm branch), and aravah (willow).

These plants are called the Four Species or Arba Minim.

What are the uses of the myrtle flower?

Myrtle flowers, while mostly prized for their beautiful and fragrant blooms, are also valued for their many uses. They can be used to treat various illnesses, add unique flavors to drinks and dishes, and create borders in gardens.

Can myrtle flowers be used in medicine?

Can myrtle flowers be used in medicine

Yes, myrtles have been traditionally used in medicine to treat various ailments, including scalp issues, fungal and bacterial infections, and sinus infections. It’s been noted in the writings of Celsus, Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, and Pliny.

Essential oils made of it are believed to have antibacterial and antifungal effects, which contributed to its historical use in treating infections. Celsus, an encyclopaedist, also recommended adding ladanum to myrtle oil to treat ailments related to the scalp.

Despite its popularity in many historical medical writings, it’s still important to approach myrtle with caution if you want to use it to treat any ailments. Consult with a healthcare professional to ensure your safety.

How can myrtle flowers be used in cooking?

How can myrtle flowers be used in cooking

Myrtle berries, specifically those from Myrtus communis, can be used as spices in various dishes and ingredients in alcoholic drinks. You can add a unique scent to the dish by stuffing meat with myrtle twigs before roasting.

Mediterranean people, especially those from Sardinia and Corsica, macerate myrtle berries to make a popular aromatic liqueur called Mirto. Some also make wines using the berries.

Myrtle berries can also be used as an alternative to pepper. They’re sometimes used to make Italian Mortadella sausage as some people love their taste better than other spices.

How can myrtle flowers be used in gardening?

How can myrtle flowers be used in gardening

Myrtle flowers can be used in gardening as ornamental and hedging plants. Their fragrant nature contributes to a sensory experience in gardens, making them one of the most popular shrubs for homeowners.

They have dense foliage and a neat growth habit, so they’re perfect for defining garden spaces. You can use them to separate the lawn area from the garden beds or plant them along the edges of your pathways for a cleaner look.

Their glossy and attractive flowers can also be charming additions to your other flowers. Just make sure to cover them with bed sheets or row covers during winter, as they may not flower if they get stressed from the cold.

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