As part of our EkoSkola and Leaf Projects, we planted a Myrtle tree in our school yard. The myrtle tree is an indigenous species common in many parts of southern Europe and North Africa. Myrtle leaves have been used medicinally for at least 3,000 years. Like most other native trees, it had nearly disappeared from the Maltese countryside but there is evidence that in a number of localities such as Wied Għajn Riħana it used to be common.
It is in fact a pity that the tree, known in Maltese as Riħan, is not planted more often in our country.
The myrtle does not grow high and at most reaches five metres but its special attributes are aromatic leaves and beautiful white flowers that are in bloom from late spring to late summer.
Later in the year the myrtle tree produces large numbers of blue-black berries. The berries contain several seeds and it is very easy to propagate the tree from them. The myrtle tree is also cultivated and can be found in gardens. It is ideal for hedges and one can be found in the front garden of the Domus Romana Museum in Rabat. Special thanks go to Mr. Johann Gatt, our EkoSkola and Leaf Coordinator.