Lagerstroemia commonly known as crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, is a deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia, and parts of Oceania, cultivated in warmer climates around the world. These flowering trees are beautifully colored and are often planted both privately and commercially as ornamentals.
Crepe myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer. Most species of Lagerstroemia have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite and simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5–20 cm (2–8 in). While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 30 m (100 ft) to under 30 cm (1 ft); most, however, are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.
Flowers are borne in summer and autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. The fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, then ripening to dark brown or black dryness. It splits along six or seven lines, producing teeth much like those of the calyx, and releases numerous, small, winged seeds.
In their respective climates, both subtropical and tropical species are common in domestic and commercial landscapes. Lagerstroemia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (moth and butterfly) species including Endoclita malabaricus.
They are used in landscaping and gardening as screens, lawn specimens, shrub borders, and container plants. They are relatively suitable for foundations and walkways because the roots are not strong nor damaging to fixed structures.