Selected Trees and Shrubs
Lagerstroemia speciosa; Synonym: L. flos-reginae, Common name: Queens Flower Tree, Queens Crape Myrtle
Plant Family: Belongs to the Lythraceae family, of mostly tropical herbs and the occasional shrub or tree, and includes the Cigar Flower (Cuphea ignea) and the dye producing Henna plant (Lawsonia inermis)
Description: Fast-growing, medium-sized, spreading, deciduous tree, up to 15 m high or more (50 ft); bark peeling; leaves simple, ovate up to about 20 cm long (8 in) and 10 cm broad (4 in); one of the most strikingly showy of flowering trees, commonly cultivated in gardens for its brightly colored mauve or pink flowers with crinkled petals, born in large, terminal, conical panicles, 30 cm long (12 in), from April to July; pink variety is especially attractive; fruit a round, brown, woody capsule, up to 2.5 cm across (1 in); seeds elongated and winged.
Natural Habitat: Will thrive in full sun on well drained soils in tropics and sub-tropics; propagation by cuttings, root suckers or seed; seedlings flower in 2 years
Origin and Distribution: Native to India, Australia & S.E. Asia; distributed variously throughout tropics and sub-tropics.
Uses: Primarily a beautiful ornamental and good shade tree; a specimen tree in gardens or lining boulevards; its valuable reddish timber is used for fine cabinetry, in shipbuilding, exterior applications and construction; plant is used medicinally - seeds are narcotic and leaves are purgative.
Indigenous Legends: Named Crape Myrtle because crinkled petals look as if made from delicate crape paper; plant is named for Swedish botanist Magnus Von Lagerstroem, who collected Indian plants for Carl Linnaeus
Anon. Official Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica. Kew Gardens, London, 1924?
Lagerstroemia flos-regina. Gautam Global, Dehra Dun, India n.d.
H.F. Macmillan. Tropical Planting and Gardening. Macmillan, London 1956
C.D. Adams. Flowering Plants of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Mona, Glasgow University Press 1972
Dan H. Nicolson. Flora of Dominica, Part 2: Dicotyledoneae. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1991
Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson. Lagerstroemia speciosa: Queens Crape-Myrtle. Univ. of Florida, Gainsville, Florida 1993
Queens Crape Myrtle, Florida Gardener, Florida 2001 (floridagardener.com)
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