Myrtle — myrtus luma

All that aside, the myrtle's most stunning attribute is its gorgeous cinnamon coloured bark, which peels away to reveal creamy white patches.

This example was found in Glengarriff in West Cork in the courtyard of Quill's shop. It was first introduced from Chile in 1843 and it is very unusual to find one so old, so big and with so many divisions in the trunk. The yellow building sets off the dark red-orange bark of the tree beautifully.

Myrtles are often used as hedges as an alternative to Pittosporum or conifers and can be seen in sunnier climes, topiarised within an inch of their lives. However, it is seldom more than a shrub outside its native areas and really only thrives in this country in warmer parts such as West Cork. However there are many fine examples of smaller ones in sheltered spots in more northern areas and a couple of younger examples can be seen in The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, in Dublin.

Jenny Wright