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c.1400, from Old French mirtile, from Medieval Latin myrtillus, diminutive of Latin myrtus "myrtle tree," from Greek myrtos "the myrtle, a sprig of myrtle," from same Semitic source as Greek myrrha (see myrrh).
(Isa. 41:19; Neh. 8:15; Zech. 1:8), Hebrew hadas, known in the East by the name _as_, the Myrtus communis of the botanist. "Although no myrtles are now found on the mount (of Olives), excepting in the gardens, yet they still exist in many of the glens about Jerusalem, where we have often seen its dark shining leaves and white flowers. There are many near Bethlehem and about Hebron, especially near Dewir Dan, the ancient Debir. It also sheds its fragrance on the sides of Carmel and of Tabor, and fringes the clefts of the Leontes in its course through Galilee. We meet with it all through Central Palestine" (Tristram).
aromatic evergreen tree of the laurel family (Lauraceae). It occurs on the Pacific coast of North America from Oregon to California and grows about 15 to 25 metres (50 to 80 feet) tall. A handsome tree, it is often grown in gardens and along avenues. The alternate, short-stalked, smooth-edged leaves are oblong or oval and 7.5-12.5 centimetres (3-5 inches) long. When crushed, the leaves have a strong pungent aroma. The yellow-green flowers grow in dense clusters, and the egg-shaped, yellowish-green to purple fruit is about 2.5 cm long.