Forest 24 - Japanese crepe myrtle


Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Fantasy' 

Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Fantasy', Japanese crepe myrtle flowers. Photo not from the Arboretum 

Not yet planted in Forest 24 but some trees of this species have been planted and are thriving in the Discovery Garden.

Other common names

Japanese: Saru suberi

Origin of the species name

Lagerstroemia isin honour of the Swede Magnus von Lagerstroem (1691-1759), manager of the Company of India, who supplied Linnaeus with plant specimens; fauriei is named after Urbain Jean Faurie, a French priest and botanist (1847-1915); 'Fantasy' is the cultivar name given to a seedling selection in 1982 at the JL Raulston Arboretum in the USA.

Family

Lythraceae

Japanese crepe myrtle Fantasy tree. Photo not from the Arboretum

General description

This is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree. The cultivar 'Fantasy' is vase shaped and spreading with colourful deciduous bark that flakes to reveal a smooth, red- brown surface. The dark green leaves do not have a notable autumn display. The small flowers are white with some having a slight pink flush. Height 15m Spread 10m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to Yakushima Island, Japan where it is limited to riverbed sediments and the foot-slopes of small watersheds.

Conservation status

Although it is not internationally classified as threatened, it is a species of Lagerstroemia restricted just to the island Yakushima Island.

Uses

Since seed was collected and taken to the United States, where several cultivars have been selected, it is becoming a popular garden plant outside of Japan because of its resistance to some fungal diseases, tree form and colourful bark.