Lagerstroemia L.

Commemorating Magnus Lagerstroem, Swedish friend of Linnaeus.

Trees or shrubs. Bark generally smooth and mottled. Leaves mostly opposite; stipules minute and soon shed. Flower clusters of branched cymes. Flowers regular and usually 6-parted. Calyx tube ridged, angular or narrow and pointed. Petals crinkled and with a long 'stalk', showy. Stamens numerous, long and protruding. Ovary with 3-6 chambers and a bent style. Fruit a loculicidal capsule containing numerous long, winged seeds.

Grown as L. indica for the colourful clusters of crinkled flowers and smooth ornamental bark. L. speciosa Pers., Queen's Crape Myrtle (Pride of India), from India to China and the Pacific, is occasionally cultivated as a large tree with leaves over 10 cm long. Syn. L. flos-reginae Retz.; it has been crossed with L. indica to produce the hybrid L. × matthewsii, from which a number of cultivars have been derived.

Most cultivars have been selected for flower colour and have arisen as chance seedlings of L. indica, early introductions coming from France. After the 1950s some hybridisation occurred. In Australia, open pollinated flowers of the cultivar 'Eavesii' (L. × matthewsii back-crossed to L. indica) produced a range of variants introduced by Ferguson &Son, NSW, c. 1913. In the USA L. × matthewsiiwas also used to produce many cultivars, including dwarf and compact forms, the Petite series and bicolors. In more recent times L. fauriei and L. subcostata have been used for hybridisation with L. indica, and in the USA and Japan there have been attempts to breed mildew-resistant clones. Identification is complicated by the many available names for a limited range of flower and habit variants.

53 species in tropical and subtropical Asia through to Australia. Australia has 1 native species.

Seed, cultivars by cuttings.

Some species are used for timber.

Crinkled flowers.

Egolf (1967), Furtado &Srisuko (1969), Egolf &Andrick (1978).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Lythraceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Cultivars of hybrid origin

Recently introduced complex hybrids raised in the USA and involving L. indica and L. fauriei include 'Biloxi', 'Comanche', 'Lipan', 'Miami', 'Natchez', 'Osage', 'Sioux', 'Tuscarora' and 'Yuma'.

Lagerstroemia 'Apalachee'

Flowers lavender-purple.Autumn foliage orange to brownish red, or red. Selected in usa in 1976. Int. 1987. A hybrid of l. indica (dwarf) _ l. fauriei.

Lagerstroemia 'Eavesii'

Compact. Flowers rosy purple in large clusters. Originated by hybridisation of l. _matthewsii _ l. indica by s.h. Eaves of Brisbane. 'Newmannii' is similar but with pink flowers.

Lagerstroemia 'Heliotrope Beauty'

Compact habit. Flowers deepish purple. Originated as a seedling of 'Eavesii'. Int. Walter s. Hazlewood, Hazlewood Bros, Epping, nsw, Australia.

Lagerstroemia 'Monbazillac'

Branches slender. Flower clusters long. Flowers pink. Originated as a hybrid in 1960 by j. Desmartis, Bergerac. Int. Desmartis &Cie, Bergerac, France, 1973-4.

Lagerstroemia 'Petite Orchid'

Dwarf, upright tree 1-2 m tall with flowers dark pink. Originated as a hybrid by Otto Spring, Oklahoma, usa. Int. 1961 Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California, usa.

Lagerstroemia 'Petite Snow'

Dwarf, upright tree 1-2 m tall with flowers pure white. Originated as a hybrid by Otto Spring, Oklahoma, usa. Int. 1961 Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California, usa.

Lagerstroemia 'Soir D'

ÃĩtÃĩ' Flower clusters 10-30 cm long, arching outwards, pale pink, recurrent. A hybrid developed by Jacques Desmartis &Cie, Bergerac, France, in 1960. Int. 1973-4.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Myrtales
family       Lythraceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Lagerstroemia indica L.