Common Crape Myrtle
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Common Crape Myrtle
D Native Photo: Tabish
Common name: Common Crape Myrtle • Hindi: सावनी Saona, Sawani, फ़राश Farash • Manipuri: জরোল Jarol • Marathi: Dhayti • Nepali: असारे Asare • Sanskrit: सिद्धेश्वर Siddhesvara • Tamil: பவலக்குரிந்ஜி Pavalakkurinji • Telugu: Chinagoranta • Bengali: জরুল Jarul
Botanical name: Lagerstroemia indica    Family: Lythraceae (Crape Myrtle family)
Synonyms: Lagerstroemia indica var. alba, Lagerstroemia elegans, Lagerstroemia minor

Crape myrtle is the smaller cousin of Queen Crape Myrtle. It is an often multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with a wide spreading, flat topped, rounded, or even spike shaped open habit. Planted in full sun or under canopy, the tree is a popular nesting shrub for songbirds and wrens. The bark is a prominent feature being smooth, pinkish-gray and mottled, shedding each year. In colder areas, the leaves also shed each winter, after spectacular color display, and bare branches re-leaf early in the spring; leaves are small, smooth-edged, circular or oval-shaped, and dark green changing to yellow and orange and red in autumn. Flowers, on different trees, are white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine with crimped petals, in panicles up to 9 cm. Capsules are ellipsoidal, 1-1.3 × 0.7-1.2 cm, 4-6-valved. Seeds including wing about 8 mm. Common Crape Myrtle is found in the Himalayas amd Indo-China, China, at altitudes of 1000-1500 m. It is also widely cultivated. Flowering: June-September.
Medicinal uses: Bark, leaves and flowers are considered hydragogue and drastic purgative. Bark is also considered stimulant and febrifuge. Roots are astringent and used as gargle. Seeds have narcotic properties. In Manipur, flowers and leaves are used as purgatives. Bark is stimulant and febrifuge (fever removing) Roots are astringent and used as gargle.

Identification credit: Radhika Vathsan Photographed in Delhi.

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