Lagerstroemia indica

Botanical Name: Lagerstroemia indica
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Lagerstroemia
Species: L. indica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales

Common Names:Crape myrtle, Crepe myrtle

Habitat :: Lagerstroemia indica is native to E. Asia – China, Korea.It grows  on open grassy places and on cliffs at low altitudes, also on forest edges

Description:
Lagerstroemia indica is an often multistemmed, deciduous tree with a wide spreading, flat topped, open habit when mature.It grows to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.

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The bark is a prominent feature being smooth, pinkinsh-gray and mottled, shedding each year. Leaves are small and dark green changing to yellow and orange in autumn.

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) Flowers are white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine with crimped petals, in panicles up to 9cm.

Lagerstroemia indica is frost tolerant, prefers full sun and will grow to 6 metres with a spread of 6 metres.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in most well-drained soils in a sunny sheltered position. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in soils low in nutrients. Dislikes very alkaline soils. Dormant plants are hardy to about -10°c if the wood is well ripened. They require very hot and humid summers and preferably the protection of a south facing wall if they are to flower in Britain. Plants are hardy in a very sunny position in southern England but they only flower in consistently warm summers. Plants are much hardier when the wood is thoroughly ripened by the sun. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. Flowers are produced in broad panicles on the tips of the current years growth. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring in order to encourage new growth. Young plants grow fairly quickly and will often flower in their first year after planting out. Plants do not transplant well and should be moved with a large rootball. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. Another report says to sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in the winter in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long in December. High percentage

Medicinal Uses;
AstringentDepurativeDiureticFebrifuge;  Hydrogogue;  Purgative;  Stimulant;  Styptic.

The stem bark is febrifuge, stimulant and styptic. The bark, flowers and leaves are considered to be hydrogogue and a drastic purgative. A paste of the flowers is applied externally to cuts and wounds. The root is astringent, detoxicant and diuretic. A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of colds.

The taste is slightly bitter and biting.  The plant promotes diuresis, resolves clots and bruises. It also is an antidote for poisoning.  A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of colds. . As a diuretic, boil 2 leaves in 3 cups water for 10 minutes and take in sips all day—not to exceed 6 cups weekly.  Boil a slice of bark 7.5 cm x 2.5 cm in 2 quarts of water for 10 minutes and use to bathe wounds and infections.

Other Uses : Wood is hard. A useful timber

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lagerstroemia+indica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagerstroemia_indica

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