Lagerstroemia indica

Accession Count: 220
Common Name: Crape Myrtle
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Family Name: Lythraceae
Botanical Name: Lagerstroemia indica
Sub Species:
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Characteristics: The L. inidica is a small shrub that can be trained into a tree. It grows to heights of about 10 to 30 feet with a spread of 15 to 25 feet. The crown is in the shape of a vase with a symmetrical canopy. The bark is thin and easily damaged. It is usually light gray with dark spots. The leaves are lanceolate shaped and about two to four inches long. They are dull green in color and turn orange, red, and yellow in the fall before they drop due to their deciduous nature This small tree produces a large number of very showy flowers from mid-July through October. Flower color differs greatly depending on variety but common colors are lavender, pink, purple, red, and white. The flowers are one to two inches wide. The fruit that forms is dry, a hard oval shape, brown, and about half an inch wide.
Compound: Lag ind
Geographic Origin: China
Ecozone Origin: Palearctic
Biome Origin: AS
Natural History: It is commonly named crape myrtle because of its flower petals that resemble crepe paper. The small tree was introduced to Europe from China and India in 1759 and made its way to the America’s in the late 18th century. While it is commonly called a myrtle, it is not a true member of the Myrtle family.
Cultivation Notes: The Crape Myrtle is susceptible to chlorosis, so it is important to make sure that it has good soil nutrients. Full, reflected the sun, or partial shade, paired with moderate watering (one to two times monthly), are ideal conditions for the Crape Myrtle. Although depending on the environment/setting it may need substantial water. It can be very messy when unkempt, sometimes training may be needed in order to keep it in shape. Typically it is a shrub, but pruning to shape into a tree is viable. There are also many different cultivars with slightly different characteristics, specifically flower color. 
Ethnobotany: Crape myrtle is a highly popular ornamental. It is sold extensively as a colorful shrub or small tree for landscapes and home gardens. The crape myrtle aphid, which is host specific to this species, attracts a wide variety of beneficial insects that feed on them. For this reason, the crape myrtle is being planted in many pecan orchards and used even more extensively in landscapes where there is a pest issue. In a horticultural setting, it is perfect for lawns, patios, or even planted along the street.

Height: 16 - 20 feet
Width: 16 - 20 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season: Spring
Flower Season: Summer
Color: Red
Function: Patio
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Moderate Water Use

Citations:
Perry, Bob. Landscape Plants for Western Regions: An Illustrated Guide to Plants for Water Conservation. Land Design Publishing, 1992.
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Lagerstroemia indica