Arrayanes were highly valued in ancient Greece and offered to Venus, goddess of love. During the early Olympic Games, winners were distinguished with a crown made from the leaves of this tree, and to this day, it's also given to brides and grooms in some countries. 11 species are present in Mexico.
The name for the Arrayán tree comes from the Arabic Ar-Rayhan or Rihan ("the aromatic"). The Myrtus or Arrayán tree contains Mirtol in its leaves and fruit, a highly aromatic and antiseptic essence. Because of its composition and properties it's similar to the Eucalyptus and both species belong to the same botanic family, they are "related". It also contains tannins which give it an astringent character.
This tree belongs to the family of the Myrtaceae, and its scientific name is Myrtus communis. The tree may reach up to 10 meters (approx. 30 ft.), it is a slender tree with a smooth bark the color of which may vary from almost white to grayish green. Its blossoms are white and very aromatic, similar to the guava blossom but smaller. The leaves are very thin and shiny, measuring approximately 1.5 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters long. The fruit is round and resemble small guavas measuring about 1.5 centimeters in diameter. The taste is delicious, sweet and a bit tart. Their color is yellow when ripe. This tree can grow in any type soil and altitude, but it is most often distributed between 700 and 1500 meters. The fresh fruit is eaten in season and fresh juice and candy are manufactured with it. This tree is also known as "guayabillo".