About 50 species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs and trees. Leaves opposite, however apical ones are frequently alternate, usually ovate, base rounded, margin entire. Flowers in axillary or terminal clusters (panicles), 6 petals, often crumpled, margins undulate, rose, purple, to white, long style. Fruit is a dehiscent capsule, winged seeds.
Lagerstroemia: after Magnus von Lagerstrom (1691-1759), a Swedish merchant and friend of Linnaeus.
The common name is spelt both Crape Myrtle and Crepe Myrtle. The traditional Southern spelling is "Crepe" Myrtle because the delicate flowers resemble crepe paper.