While various species and cultivars are able to fill a wide variety of landscape needs, crape myrtles are chiefly famous for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Most species of Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle) have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite, simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5-20 cm (2-8 in). While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 100 feet to under one foot; most, however are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs. The leaves of temperate species provide autumn color.
(sorry about the istockphoto, but I just loved this image so much I had to include it watermark and all)
Flowers are born in summer and autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Colors vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. Although no blue-flowered varieties exist, it is toward the blue end of the spectrum that the flowers trend, with no sight of orange or yellow except in stamens and pistils. 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 much like those of the calyx, and releases numerous small winged seeds.
If you are seeking a shrub with great landscaping potential and a harking back to the 1940's and 50's gardens, during which they were very popular, then look no further than a Crepe Myrtle - its a little darling !