Lagerstroemia indica is a species of the genus Lagerstroemia of the Lythraceae family. Originally from China, Japan, Himalayas and India. Later it was cultivated in almost all the Asian continent and later in Europe.
The genus is dedicated to Magnus von Lagerström (1696-1759), Swedish naturalist who, as director of the “Swedish East India Company” in Gothenburg, obtained numerous plants from India and China, making them available to his friend Linnaeus. The specific epithet comes from the Latin indicus-a-um = Indian, applied to plants from the East Indies.
Lagerstroemia indica is multi-stemmed, deciduous tree with a wide spreading, flat topped, rounded, or even spike shaped open habit. The bark is a prominent feature being smooth, pinkish-grey and mottled, shedding each year. Leaves are dark green changing to yellow and orange and red in autumn. Flowers are white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine with crimped petals, in panicles of more than 9 centimetres in length.
It is a species very popular as an ornamental plant, for its decorative foliage and colourful flowering. It is quite rustic, although it develops better in fresh and deep soils, rich in humus and sand, and does well in places that are protected from frost and intense sun.
The wood is not used for anything.
In popular medicine, the roots are used in elixirs to cure aphtha and stomach pains. The elixir of the leaves and flowers is used as a purgative.