Lagerstroemia archeriana  F.M.Bailey 1883

pronounced: lah-ger-STREE-mee-uh ah-cher-ee-AH-nuh

(Lythraceae – the crape-myrtle family)

common names:  Queensland Crape-myrtle, North Kimberley Crape-myrtle

LagerstroemiaQueensland crape-myrtle is named for Magnus von Lagerstroem (1691–1759), naturalist, a friend of Linnaeus and a Director of the Swedish East India Company. The spelling of ‘crape’ in the common name is controversial – some spell it crêpe; archeriana is most likely for William Archer, 19th century Australian botanist and botanical illustrator.

This is a native of northern Australia, being found right across the top end; it also occurs in parts of  New Guinea. It is a large shrub or a small sub-canopy tree to 15 m high, with a cylindrical bole up to 25 cm in diameter, often branching from near the base. It occurs naturally in monsoon and gallery forests. The living bark layer is quite thin; the inner bark and the cambium layer turn pink or purplish on exposure.

The tree is deciduous, being leafless for a period in the winter/dry season, and the leaves produce “autumn colours” before falling.

branching near the basesub-opposite leavesThe leaf blades are 7–17 by 2–5 cm, borne on short petioles. They are sub-opposite and simple. The upper surfaces are glossy green and the lower a dull pale green. Stipules may be visible on young shoots, small, with a short swollen base and abruptly tapering into a small, prickle-like tip. Lateral veins are curved throughout their length, sometimes forming loops inside the blade margin. The bark on the larger twigs tends to be scaly and/or slightly stringy.

The inflorescence is terminal to axillary (towards the ends of the branchlets), with the flowers on a branched axis; they are bisexual, stalked, and pink to mauve in colour. The calyx lobes are 2–4 mm long, and the petals about 15 mm long. The staminodes are pink-red, much larger than the stamens.

The infructescence is arranged on a branched axis, each fruit a dehiscent capsule 1–2 cm long, brownish red, with up to 100 or so seeds, each about 5 mm long and winged.

 Photographs taken in Nelly Bay 2011

Page last updated 19th December 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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