Introduction To Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtle is a shrub or a tree which is known for its ornamental qualities. Due to its unique bark including scenic fall colours, Crepe Myrtle trees are commonly grown in the Gardens as well as for commercial purposes. They’re known for their long-lasting flowers especially in summers. Crepe Myrtle is a plant native to the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. This plant belongs to the family Lythraceae and Genus Lagerstroemia including around 50 species. This plant is also known by other common names such as Crapemyrtle, Crepe Myrtle, Crepeflower, Pride of India, Queen Crape Myrtle, Queen of Flowers, Queen of Shrubs, Queen’s Flower, Cuddle Tree, Banabá, Giant Crepe myrtle, and Indian crape myrtle.
- It is a deciduous and evergreen plant including multi-stemmed shrubs and small trees.
- They can grow up to 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. There is a dwarf breed of this plant that can only grow 6 to 18 feet tall and shrub varieties 2 to 5 feet tall.
- Leave of this plant are one to three inches long, dark green above and paler below.
- Crepe Myrtle thrives best in sunny locations and prefers average, medium moisture, well-drained and nutrient-rich soil (pH level 5.0 to 6.5).
- It is a drought-tolerant plant.
- It requires at least 6 hours per day of sunlight.
- The flowers of Crepe Myrtle comes in multiple shades of red, pink, white, purple and pink.
- The most favoured time for the plant to grow is in late winters or early spring.
Crepe Myrtle Root System
The root system of the Crepe Myrtle tree is shallow and fibrous. The roots of this plant do not grow deep in a taproot system but in fact, these roots are weak and dense and only thrive near the surface. They extend up to three times the distance than the area covered by the plant canopy. Due to the roots being closer to the surface, the plants (grasses) near the Crepe Myrtle tree do not grow properly or inhibit the growth of the Crepe Myrtle by competing with its shallow roots for the water. The roots of this plant are not invasive in nature therefore not being a threat to the nearby concrete. The roots of Crepe Myrtle holds medicinal importance as they are astringent, detoxicant and diuretic.
Uses of Crepe Myrtle
- Crepe Myrtle strengthens the immune system because it contains Saponin which works as an Antioxidant. It can prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- It has been used as a medicine in Ayurveda in India for a long time.
- The wood of Crepe Myrtle tree is hard and is used as timber to produce furniture etc.
- The trees and shrubs of Crepe Myrtle are often grown in gardens for decorative purposes due to the amazing flower colours.
- The stew of the steam of Crepe Myrtle is helpful in removing the kidney stones.
- It is also used to improve the skin’s conditions. The content inside the Crepe Myrtle cures various skin related problems.
- It is extensively commercialised as an ornamental plant.