by Stephen Mifsud
   12 Jun 2024      ()
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Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   (Tarentum Myrtle)

Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina  (MYRTACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Aug-22 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina - datasheet created on Aug-22. Retrieved from on 12-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina(L.) Nyman
Published in Consp. Fl. Eur.: 245. 1879

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Myrtus tarentina (L.) Mill.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Myrtaceae Juss. (The Myrtle Family)
6 species from the Myrtaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Tarentum Myrtle

Maltese name(s) :

Riħan tal-werqa żgħira, Riħan ta' l-Italja

Status for Malta :

Cultivated species. Introduced plants cultivated for agricultural or horticultural purposes but sometimes can be occassionaly found as an escapee close to the site of their original cultivation.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – August

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Myrtus: The Greek name for the Myrtle which in Greek mythology this plant was held sacred to Aphrodite. In Christian religion, it has been associated with the Virgin probably due to its fragrance and white flowers. (Greek origin ); 2 = Further Info: [1].
communis subsp. tarentina:

Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Remarks :

Many imported Myrtle trees used in embellishment projects such as parks, roadsides, and public gardens are the non-native Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina. Refer to the paper by Mifsud (2009) which highlights the differences between the native and non-native myrtle trees (link to pdf found below).

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Scrub; usually calcifuge.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Embellishment and ornamental tree along roads, traffic islands, parks and private gardens.
Botanical Description: Erect, much-branched shrub, up to 5 m. Twigs glandular-hairy when young. Leaves up to 2.5 cm, lanceolate, acute, entire, coriaceous, punctate, very aromatic when crushed, crowded and uniform along the branches. Flowers up to 2 cm in diameter, sweet-scented. Pedicels long, slender, with 2 small, caducous bracteoles. Petals suborbicular, white. Berry 7-9 x 6-7 mm, broadly ellipsoid to subglobose, usually blue-black when ripe.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region and S. W. Europe.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Co Cr Ga Hs It Ju Sa [Lu]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Update of the Maltese Flora (Central Mediterranean) including very rare species or species thought to be extinct from the Maltese islands Stephen Mifsud  (2009)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-0.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-1.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-2.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-3.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-4.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-5.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-6.
   Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina   -   Image Code: MYRCT-7.

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