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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lagerstroemia - Crape Myrtle

Lagerstroemia, commonly known as Crape myrtles, are small deciduous multi-seasonal  trees with beautiful flowers, fall color and bark. There are two species,  several hybrids and lots of cultivars. We generally see one of three colors, white, lavender and dark red. There are so many and I will not even start to guess which is which. Maybe some day I'll sort them out. So for now, they are all crape myrtles.




Foliage is deciduous, simple, opposite to subopposite, 1-1/2" to 3" long, ovate to elliptical, entire margins, often folded up on itself forming a V shape. Variable as I am including hybrids of at least two species under this generic listing. New leaves of some varieties show a reddish cast.



Flowers are pretty interesting to look at closely. The sepals form a 5 sided ball through which the petals come out with a long skinny stalk along with the stamens and single stigma.



Flowers are arranged in large 1' long panicles with tons of individual 1" flowers. Whites, reds, pinks, and lavenders are commonly seen. Blooms on new wood.



Fruit are small capsules about 3/8" diameter, brown.



Bark is beautiful, especially wet. Bark is the real selling point for me, but they do provide winter, summer and fall interest.



Fall color is about as good as it gets here in SC.



Misidentification:
bark? if you happen to see a Stewartia


Location:
Soquel
Corner of Soquel Drive and Potter

Santa Cruz
17th Ave is a great spot to see many older trees
1592 Seabright Avenue

Scotts Valley
Mt Hermen Shopping centers, the movie theater side.

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