|Lagerstroemia indica - courtesy of Vanderbilt University|
Crepe myrtles are native to the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Northern Australia and parts of Oceania. The common crepe myrtle from China and Korea was introduced circa 1790 to Charleston, South Carolina by the French botanist Andre Michaux. Two hundred years of cultivation has resulted in a huge number of cultivars of widely varying characteristics.Click on the link to read the whole thing. The website is a joint effort with Adams County, PA Master Gardeners, and Frederick County, MD Master Gardeners. You can click on the link to the right to check in with them regularly. It's the last link in the sidebar under "Other Blogs".
The lovely crepe myrtle even has Biblical notoriety in Isaiah 55: 13 - "Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree; and instead of briers the myrtle will grow."
After blooming, crepe myrtles develop distinctive seed heads, then the leaves fall toward the end of autumn, leaving the colorful, exfoliating bark to showcase during the winter.
Here's Virginia Tech's Fact Sheet that has the basics on Lagerstroemia, and a more detailed one on proper pruning techniques, with one section on preventing "Crape Murder."
|Crepe Myrtle taken 9/18/11|
UPDATE: 10/14/11 - Here's a picture taken on the Fall Garden Tour last month. I think it's the one at my place but not completely sure. I copied this from the Franklin County Master Gardener Facebook page where there is a new album up with 55 pictures from the Fall Garden Tour. From any facebook page, search "Franklin County Master Gardeners PA" and you'll find us. I believe these pictures were taken by MG Jerry Lewis.