Do you know that the name Myrtle comes from a flower? Yes, yes – Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter – she is also bearing the same name as this rather lovely species. The family Myrtaceae is a home to the myrtus genus where the Myrtle flower comes from. All in all, there are two species in the genus and both come from either Africa or Southern Europe. The florets grow on either a tree or a shrub and are rather small with five sepals and petals. They also have an irregular number of stamens. The colour of the petals is white, but the fruit, which grows inside of the flower, is blue and looks like a berry. There are some variations of colour that are influenced by the berry.
There are many uses of this flower. It is famous as a very tasty herb that is added a a spice to various dishes such as meats, fishes and sometimes salads. Its aroma is also preferred by many cosmetic companies and they put it as a main essence in their perfumes. There is one side of the plant, however, that does not help with the outside, but rather enriches the inside of the human – the mind.
Myrtle flower legends
Several myths and legends refer to the Myrtle flower. One of them tells how Adonis’s mother Myrrha was so disgusted and restrained in her life by her parents (king Theias of Assyria mainly) that she agreed to be turned into a Myrtle tree down on Earth by the gentle hand of Aphrodite. The King, however, angry at the news shot an arrow through the tree trunk, creating a gaping hole. From it, though, Mirrha’s most beautiful deed came out – God Adonis himself. Later, Aphrodite took the little boy in and as he grew the man destined for glory and she became a fully grown woman, they engaged in a romance of godlike scale. She named the Myrtle tree as a sacred plant of hers and forbid anyone to harm it. This flower is also very popular as a mina ingredient in magic spells and concoctions. It is present in the myth of the minor goddess and enchantress Phaedra. It is also used as a bow to the powers and means of the goddess of amour – Venus. Love enchantments and white magic often use these charming little flowers in order to call forth the intricate feelings of a lover’s targeted person.
Although related to pagan folklore, the Myrtle is also a highly regarded sign of love and marriage in the Hebrew cultures. It is also generally understood as a symbol of love and very deep amorous feelings. When gifted to a friend, the tiny flowers mean ‘prosper’ and ‘find and enjoy all the goods that life has to offer’. This sums up also the meaning behind Moaning Myrtle’s personality – she is in love with Harry, although in a childish way, and wishes him well as is shown on various occasions.