Written by Carlos Fernandez, Visitor Services Associate
A tree in disguise as a flower, blossoms into vibrant colors whether different shades of pink, purple, or white on every branch; when several are put together it is as though a wave of color is moving right above everyone’s head.
This magnificent tree originated from the Indian subcontinent, reaching China, South East Asia, and Oceania. The Crepe Myrtle, also known by its Latin and scientific name Lagerstroemia, arrived in England in 1759, but due to the relatively cold weather the Crepe Myrtle refused to bloom, even in the summer time. The American South however, with its characteristic heat and humidity during the summer made it perfect for the Crepe Myrtle to bloom for long periods of time. It was first introduced to the United States in 1786, just a few years after the American Revolution, by Andre Michaux the explorer and botanist to King Louis XVI. When Michaux introduced it to Charleston, South Carolina, it became an instant favorite and icon to the American South.
Currently one can see the iconic Crepe Myrtle all over the City of Jacksonville, and currently in full bloom at The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, decorating the sides of out formal English Garden.