Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Apalachee’

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USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF

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Lagerstroemia x fauriei ‘Apalachee’

Lagerstroemia indica is big on flowers but its also susceptible to powdery mildew among other afflictions (the varieties we grow are resistant). In 1956 a botanist named John Creech located a single specimen of what was to become Lagerstroemia fauriei- Japanese crape myrtle. Its famous for its amazing orange, brown, tan mottled bark and mildew resistance. So, it was incorporated into an existing breeding program by Dr. Egolf  at the National Arboretum to eliminate disease and provide crape myrtles in different sizes. It did but also importantly it imparted the wonderful red/ mahogany bark of this species. Lagerstroemia fauriei has a very limited range on the island of Yakushima in Japan. It has larger leaves, smaller, fragrant white flowers- in of itself a fantastic tree. This is where such hybrids as ‘Natchez’, ‘Osage’, ‘Pecos’ among other get their fantastic colorful bark. A little later a second specimen of Lagerstroemia fauriei was located. It was such a beautiful tree that it was named ‘Kiowa’. Pure orange deep mahogany brown trunks are the hallmark of this second specimen. Only one cultivar was the result of  crossing Lagerstroemia indica with  Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Kiowa’ to produce this extraordinary cultivar. It was released in 1986. Unfortunately, nursery people didn’t take to it. Dr. Egolf had previously released a LOT of lavender flowered cultivars and this one got overlooked. So good is this tree and with a different genetic makeup than the first fauriei crosses.  Importantly it received that deep  brown  and mottled orange bark as well as fragrant strong lavender flowers. The National Arboretum re-released this tree in 2017 in an effort to redevelop popularity for this extraordinary cultivar. ‘Apalachee; has many outstanding qualities. Its bark is phenomenal, deep glossy brown with orange patches- very striking. The mildew free foliage is dark, lustrous green, and the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Altogether great qualities in an 18′ tall by 8’ wide upright tree. Fall color is a remarkable orange to deep red. This tree has superior flowers to ‘Natchez’  and personally I think the bark is much more showy. Blooms heavily beginning in July. Peaks in a crescendo in August into October. We are very happy to offer this extraordinary tree. Full hot sun in rich soil with regular irrigation for the first several year.  Easy and spectacular multi-dimensional tree. Available in 2022.

 

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