Compacta, dwarf myrtle, myrtle
A well-known healing herb, MYRTUS communis, which is more often referred to simply as ‘Myrtle’, is an evergreen shrub of Eurasian origin. It was traditionally used in wedding bouquets and as a decorative finish to the bride’s hair. This aromatic plant produces small black berries that are used to add a little flavour when cooking lamb or pork, but its versatile uses stretch even further. It has antiseptic properties that are used in creams to treat eczema and for preventing infection in wounds. Myrtle successfully repels aphids and whitefly, so planting it as a hedge to a vegetable garden can cure many ‘headaches’ naturally. If it is to be propagated from cuttings, this should be done in the warmer months and, although it grows happily once settled, it can be slow growing to start. Myrtle will tolerate a little shade, but full sun will ensure optimum results.