Type of FlowersLagerstroemia:
Lagerstroemia commonly known as crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, is a genus of around 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania, cultivated in warmer climates around the world. It is a member of the Lythraceae, which is also known as the loosestrife family. The genus is named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström, who supplied Carolus Linnaeus with plants he collected. These flowering trees are beautifully colored and are often planted both privately and commercially. Popular varieties used in modern landscaping include the bright red Dynamite Crape Myrtle, the deep pink Pink Velour Crape and the purple Twilight Crape Myrtle, which also has a bark that changes colors.
Crape myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer months. Most species of Lagerstroemia have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite, simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5–20 cm (2–8 in). While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 100 feet to under one foot; most, however are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.
Flowers are borne in summer and autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. Although no blue-flowered varieties exist, it is toward the blue end of the spectrum that the flowers trend, with no sight of orange or yellow except in stamens and pistils. The fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, then ripening to dark brown or black dryness. It splits along six or seven lines, producing teeth much like those of the calyx, and releases numerous, small, winged seeds.
The common crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) from China and Korea, was introduced circa 1790 to Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States by the French botanist André Michaux. In the wild, the species is most often found as a multistemmed large shrub, but two hundred years of cultivation has resulted in a huge number of cultivars of widely varying characteristics. Today, crape myrtles varieties can fill every landscape need, from tidy street trees to dense barrier hedges all the way down to fast-growing dwarf types of less than two feet, which can go from seed to bloom in a season (allowing gardeners in places where the plant is not winter-hardy to still enjoy the intense colors of the frilly flowers). In Europe, crape myrtle is common in the south of France, the Iberian Peninsula and all of Italy; in the United States it can be seen anywhere south of USDA Zone 6, doing best and avoiding fungal diseases in mild climates that are not overly humid, such as inland California and Texas.