September  2022 Plant of the Month from our monthly newsletter:  Crape myrtles

‚ÄčThe Crape Myrtles are blooming like crazy in Chico and surrounding areas. They bring some welcome color to a sometimes drab, late summer. I have the deep purple, lighter purple, and pink in my yard.

September 2022

  There are around 50 species of Crape Myrtle.

The genus, Lagerstroemia, is named after

Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerstrom, a

director of the Swedish East India Company

who supplied Carl Linnaeus (who created our

system of naming plants and animals) with

plants he collected. They can range from 1ft tall

to over 100 feet tall and are known for their

colorful and long-lasting flowers. Flowers are borne in summer and autumn and they have 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 and releases numerous small, winged seeds. The wood of some species has been used to manufacture bridges, furniture and even railcars.The larvae of some moth and butterfly species feed on the plants. The leaves are eaten by the Antheraea paphia moth which produces a form of silk that has commercial importance in India. 

 


Submitted by Member and Club Secretary Sue Delgardo