Natchez Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei 'Natchez'
Natchez Crape Myrtle is medium to large tree with beautiful smooth, dark cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark.
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Natchez Crape Myrtle is medium to large tree with beautiful smooth, dark cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark. Glossy dark green leaves turn vibrant orange-red in fall. panicles of pure white, soft textured flowers bloom all summer. Winner of the prestigious Mississippi Medallion Award, 1998. Natchez Crape Myrtle 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. Each cluster within the Natchez Crape Myrtle has hundreds of the purest white flowers and each cluster can range from 8” to 16” long. The Crape Myrtle Natchez has a very broad and upright growing habit with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 1” to 2” long. Natchez Crape Myrtle has leaves that are bright green in the spring, darker green in the summer and in the fall they turn a vibrant orange-red. Each summer the Natchez Crape Myrtle exfoliates its gray-brown colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and light brown colored bark. Natchez Crape Myrtle is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, very drought tolerant and has a good resistance to powdery mildew. Although crape myrtles are a staple in the Southeast United States, plants such as Natchez Crape Myrtle are becoming increasingly common in the Northern areas such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and on Long Island. The eye-catching trees continue to enhance landscapes allowing gardeners everywhere to relish in their pure beauty. Natchez Crape Myrtle features terminal, crepe-papery, 6-14" long inflorescences (panicles) of pure white flowers from mid-summer to early fall. Foliage emerges bright green in spring, matures to dark green in summer and turns orange to red in fall. Crape myrtle Natchez produces flowers that give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. In the South, Crape myrtle Natchez can easily be grown as a tall woody shrub or trained as a small single trunk tree with a maximum size of 20' tall.
History and introduction of Crape Myrtles:
Crape Myrtle Natchez 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. Features dark green foliage turning orange to red in fall, dark cinnamon brown bark which exfoliates with age and terminal, crepe-papery, 6-12" long inflorescences (panicles) of white flowers from mid-summer to early fall. 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. Lagerstroemia is a genus of about 40 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees from warm-temperate to tropical areas of Asia to Australia. They are grown for their very showy, lovely summer to fall bloom. In warmer areas many can be grown as trees but in colder climates they may be killed to the ground but resprout from below ground to be grown more as shrubs. Genus name honors Magnus von Lagerstroem (1691-1759), Swedish botanist, Director of the Swedish East Indies Company and friend of Linnaeus. Common name is in reference to the crepe-papery inflorescences and the myrtle-like (Myrtus communis) features of the bark and foliage.