Common Crape Myrtle
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf deciduous tree/shrub, 3-15+ ft (0.9-4.5 m) depending upon the clone, upright. Peeling bark, pale brown to gray, is an attractive winter feature. Leaves simple, opposite, or the upper ones alternate or in whorls of three, 2.5-7.5 cm long, margin entire, elliptic or obovate to oblong, dark green, usually with a slight gloss. Clusters (panicles), 15-20 cm long x 7.5-13 cm wide, of bright flowers, with crumpled petals (like crepe paper or crape), on end of branches in summer (current season's growth). Fruit is a brown, ellipsoid, 6-valved, capsule, about 1 cm wide, which splits open to release winged seeds.
- Full sun, moist well-drained soil; when established, irrigate infrequently but deeply. Prefers hot, sunny climates (e.g., southeastern US) where it blooms in summer, but in the Pacific Northwest it blooms in late summer or some selections not at all in very cool summers. Mildew is a serious problem.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 Native to China and Korea. There are many cultivars and hybrids, Sunset Western Garden Book lists 15 and some authorities describe over 60. Flowers colors range from white, pink, purple, to deep red and plant size from small trees, large shrubs and dwarf (e.g., Petite Plum™) forms.
- Lagerstroemia faurei (FAR-ee-i) is more cold hardy and this characteristic was transferred to the many L. indica x L. faurei cultivars released by the U.S. National Arboretum.
- indica: of India
- The common name is sometimes spelt Crape Myrtle, but the "traditional Southern spelling" is Crepe Myrtle.
- In 1997 the Texas legislature designated the Crape myrtle as the official Texas state shrub.