Lagerstroemia Indica 'Tuscarora'
Lagerstroemia indica, commonly known as crape myrtle, is an upright, wide-spreading, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or small tree in the loosestrife family. It typically grows to 15-25’ tall. It is native from the Himalayas through southern China, southeast Asia and Japan, but has naturalized in the U.S. from Virginia to Arkansas south to Texas and Florida. An additional common name is Lilac of the South in reference to its popularity in southern gardens (USDA Zones 7-9). Key ornamental features include long bloom period, exfoliating bark and superb fall color. Terminal, crepe-papery inflorescences (to 6-18” long) of showy flowers with crimped petals bloom in summer (sometimes to frost) on upright branches. In the wild, flowers are typically rose to red. Cultivated varieties have expanded the flower color range to include white, pink, mauve, lavender and purple. Alternate to sub-opposite, thick and leathery, privet-like, elliptic to oblong leaves (to 3" long) emerge light green often with a tinge of red, mature to dark green by summer and finally turn attractive shades of yellow-orange-red in fall. Flowers give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. Smooth pale pinkish-gray bark on mature branches exfoliates with age. In the St. Louis area where winter injury can be a problem, plants will typically grow to 6-10’ tall. In the deep South, plants will grow much taller if not pruned back. Straight species plants are not sold in commerce. A multitude of named cultivars from dwarf to tree size have been introduced over the years, many of which are hybrids between L. indica and L. faueri.Genus name honors Magnus von Lagerstroem (1691-1759), Swedish botanist, Director of the Swedish East Indies Company and friend of Linnaeus.Specific epithet means of the Indies in reference to native territory.Common name is in reference to the crepe-papery inflorescences and the myrtle-like (Myrtus communis) features of the bark and foliage.'Tuscararo' is one of several mildew resistant hybrids developed by the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., all of which have been given the names of Native American tribes. It is a deciduous, upright, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub with arching branches. Features dark green foliage turning reddish orange in fall, mottled tan bark which exfoliates with age, and terminal, crepe-papery, 6-12" long inflorescences (panicles) of dark coral pink flowers from mid-summer to early fall. Flowers give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. In the South, this cultivar is more tree-like and can be grown as a single trunk tree or large woody shrub with a maximum size of 16-20' tall and as wide. In the St. Louis area where winter injury is a problem, plants will grow much smaller.