Lagerstroemia indica L.

crape myrtle, crepe myrtle
Lythraceae
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Hermaphrodite


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Lagerstroemia indica
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Lagerstroemia indica: Appearance of this small tree in full bloom

Appearance of this small tree in full bloomGray-brown bark that flakes in plates exposing a paler inner barkYoung 4-angled branch with alternate leavesShowy panicle 15 cm long; the pink petals have a long and slender claw and a limb with crinkled marginsBranch with immature capsules
Etymology

Lagerstroemia: After M. Lagerström, a friend of Linnaeus (19th century)

indicus, -a, -um: from India, because of its Asian origin

Description

Habit: Deciduous shrub or small tree up to 7-10 m tall with smooth gray-brown or cinnamon bark that flakes in irregular plates exposing a paler inner bark and ± 4-angled twigs.

Leaves: opposite, the upper ones sometimes alternate, deciduous, simple, with minute, subsessile, deciduous stipules, 2-7 cm long; blade elliptic or obovate, with a cuneate or rounded base, acute or obtuse, entire, with some hairs abaxially or glabrous.

Flowers: hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, perigynous, 3-4 cm in diam., showy, arranged in large terminal or axillary panicles; hypanthium sometimes turbinate; sepals usually 6; petals 6, white, pink or purplish, with a slender claw and a broad, cordate, crinkled or laciniate limb, inserted within the calyx tube; stamens numerous; gynoecium syncarpous, 3-6-carpellate, with a half-inferior ovary and a long style.

Fruit: ellipsoidal or subglobose capsule c. 1 cm long that opens in 3-6 valves, releasing numerous winged seeds.

Phenology

It flowers in summer; fruits mature at the end of autumn.

Geographic origin

Native to China.

Observations

It was probably brought to Spain from India, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. It is highly valued as an ornamental because of its abundant summer flowers.

It is easily propagated from seeds.

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