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While various species and cultivars are able to fill a wide variety of landscape needs, crepe myrtles are chiefly known for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. Most species of Lagerstroemia 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.
Native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania, cultivated in warmer climates around the world.