Myrtle is found throughout the Mediterranean, as well as in some tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree with star-like flowers that have an exceedingly large amount of stamens and blue-black berries. The flowers bloom in summer, and the berries ripen in fall and early winter. Myrtle was one of the symbols of the Three Graces, and a Victorian symbol of fidelity in marriage. Nymphs are often associated with the myrtle tree. One story relates that it was nymphs of the myrtle tree that gave humanity the arts of making cheese, bee keeping, and growing olives. Another relates how the nymph Daphne turned herself into a myrtle tree to escape being raped by Apollo. This could explain why the myrtle leaf is considered a symbol of protection. The leaves are used predominantly, but the whole plant can be utilized for different applications involving myrtle's pleasant scent.
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