MYRTUS (MYRTLE) TREE FRESH 50 SEEDSSpecies: Myrtus communis.Origin: Mediterranean or Western Asia.Source: The plant grows abundantly in the North-Western to Eastern Mediterranean region and multiple references in the Old Testament testify to its former significance to Western Asian peoples.In Mediterranean countries fresh or dried leaves are mostly used. Dried berry fruits are also aromatic and have been used as a substitute for black pepper.Family: Myrtaceae (myrtle family).Effect: The leaves exude an aromatic and refreshing smell, somewhat reminiscent of myrrh or eucalyptus. The taste is very intensive, unpleasant and strongly bitter.Etymology: English common name "myrtle" and botanical genus name myrtus have closely related names in most European and some non-European languages, e.g. English "myrtle", German myrte, Estonian mürt, Spanish mirto, Modern Greek mirtia, Russian myrt and Farsi mourd. All these names relate to Old Greek myrtos and were typically transmitted via Latin myrtus. The Greek term entered the language probably as a Semitic loan. As well as the Greco-Latin mirto, Spanish has an Arabic term, arrayán "myrtle", a medieval loan from Andalusian Arabic ar-raihan "the myrtle". Although this term is still valid in modern Arabic, in the Mediterranean the meaning has changed to "basil" with the denotation "myrtle" conserved only in North African Arabic. Modern Arabic raihan derives from the Arabic noun rih "odour".The species name communis is a slightly less pejorative Latin term for "common" than the name vulgaris.Uses: Myrtle is an example of a spice finding no widespread application because of its bitterness, despite the pleasant odour. Its culinary importance is limited to the region of origin, namely the fragrant macchia forests on the mountain slopes around the Mediterranean.Myrtle is a perfect firewood, transmitting a spicy, aromatic taste to any meat grilled on it. Meat or poultry may be wrapped with myrtle branches or the body cavities may be stuffed with myrtle, the plant being removed after broiling or roasting. Foods flavoured with the smoke of myrtle are common in rural areas of Italy and Sardinia, where rosemary serves as a substitute. The same technique is also employed in the Caribbean, where allspice leaves are used for the same purpose.Dried myrtle leaves are readily available in most Western countries. Any food cooked over charcoal may be flavoured by repeatedly sprinkling a handful of the leaves over the glowing coal. Rosemary, thyme and other robust herbs may also be used in this way.