Lagerstroemia indica-a big name for a tree with such delicate flowers. Crepe myrtle is a common name for this deciduous tree in the family Lythraceae. In French it is called Indian lilac (lila des Indes). It is oya ağacı-‘embroidery tree’ in Turkish. It grows naturally in China, Korea, Japan and the Indian subcontinent. I believe this ornamental tree was not around during my childhood. I first started seeing it in the mid-1980s. It is a multi-stemmed, wide spreading shrub that can grow into a tree. It will grow to 6 meters with a spread of 6 meters. If it is trained it can have a neater, more eye pleasing look to it.
The trees can be flat topped, rounded, or even spike shaped. They are a popular nesting shrub for birds.
The leaves are small, smooth-edged, oval-shaped, and dark green. They fall each winter, after changing colors in autumn.
Most internet sites talk about the bark being a mottled gray-brown in color and that it sheds each year. With the trees I came across this did not seem to be a prominent feature.
Flowers, on different trees, are white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine with crimped petals, in panicles (much-branched inflorescence) up to 9cm long.
Lagerstroemia indica can be heat, humidity, drought and frost tolerant. It prefers full sun. Many hybrid cultivars of the plant have been developed between L. indica and L. faueri. The genus was named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström, who supplied Carl Lennaeus with plants he collected.
Crepe myrtle is a beautiful ornamental tree to be around.