The mytlewood tree is native to Northwestern California and Southwestern Oregon. It is a broadleaf hardwood evergreen that grows 60’ – 120’ at a slow pace of 1” – 12” of growth during each of its first few years. At that pace the myrtlewood tree may take from 80 – 120 years to reach its full size.
When the tree grows it has several trunks but may only have one if pruned regularly. As the tree grows out in the open it produces a round gumdrop shape. In the shade the myrtlewood tree grows to be much taller and narrower.
Although the tree can grow in multiple areas it is best suited in deep soil with lots of sun and water. Myrtlewood trees have a deep root system allowing them to grow healthy and strong. Myrtlewood trees that are grown out in the open producing the deep roots make for a difficult transplanting process.
The myrtlewood tree is famous as in the Bible the tree was of significant importance representing fertility and life. The myrtlewood tree that is native to Oregon is a little bigger and has a different type of flower as the myrtlewood mentioned in the Bible. The prophet Isaiah spoke of the myrtlewood tree saying “Instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree” Isaiah 55:13.
Myrtlewood comes in a wide variety of colors and is well known as being one of the world’s most beautiful woods. Some of the colors of the tree range from blond to black with all kinds of shades in between including spalted, honey, various forms of common, fytle, tiger and more.
The colors that make up the myrtlewood tree are often a result of the minerals in the soil where it grows along the Oregon Coast. Due to the nature of the myrtlewood tree growing in a wide variety of colors it can be difficult to match a piece of myrtlewood to an existing piece of myrtlewood that you may already have.
Making furniture, home décor, and other gifts out of the myrtlewood tree became popular in the early 1900’s and has continued ever since. Woodworkers in Oregon love working with the wood because of the beauty and many types of finishes it provides. Oregon has become the world headquarters for the myrtlewood tree and the woodworkers in Oregon have been handcrafting myrtlewood products for residents and many who visit the area.