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Title: Notice to nurserymen of the naming and release for propagation of Ebony Flame crapemyrtle

item Pounders Jr, Cecil
item MCLAURIN, WAYNE - Mississippi State Extension Service

Submitted to: Germplasm Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Registration
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2013
Publication Date: 12/1/2013
Citation: Pounders Jr, C.T., Mclaurin, W. 2013. Notice to nurserymen of the naming and release for propagation of Ebony Flame crapemyrtle. Germplasm Release. 48(12):1568-1570.

Interpretive Summary: not applicable

Technical Abstract: Lagerstroemia indica ‘Ebony Flame’, a new crapemyrtle clone, is recommended for trial by nurserymen and horticulturists as a flowering woody landscape plant in hardiness zones 6-9 and is particularly adapted to conditions in the southeastern U.S. ‘Ebony Flame’ was selected for its exceptional environmental stress tolerance, burgundy leaves, dark red flowers and extended flowering season. The texture, form and scale of the plant are ideally proportioned for inclusion as a component of foundation plantings and other landscape applications under conditions generally suited for crapemyrtle plants of medium stature. ‘Ebony Flame’ resulted from a cross-pollinated of a Lagerstroemia indica hybrid seedling derived from a cross between ‘Whit VII’ and ‘Arapaho’ crapemyrtles as the female parent and an inbred seedling of ‘Whit IV’ crapemyrtle as the male parent. The new crapemyrtle was selected at the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS as a superior burgundy leafed plant (PCM35) within the progeny of the stated cross-pollination growing under intermittent stress conditions including full sun, cool spring nights, high humidity and summer drought generally considered to be conducive to development of the common crapemyrtle diseases powdery mildew, Erysiphe lagestroemia, and Cercospora leaf spot, Cercospora lythracearum. ‘Ebony Flame’ has displayed a high level of field resistance to both diseases in combination with other desirable horticultural traits including an intermediate growth habit (2 to 4 meters), dark red flowers over an extended bloom season, and dark burgundy colored foliage that is persistent from spring through fall. Plants of ‘Ebony Flame’ have an upright spreading growth habit with approximate dimensions of 1.3 meters tall and 0.5 meter wide after 5 years. Crown branching is dense and compact with good foliage cover. Leaves are opposite, broadly elliptical with an acuminate apex, cuneate base, entire margins measuring approximately 5 cm in length and 2.5cm in width with pinnate venation. Leaves are Greyed-Purple 187A maturing to Brown 200A with color remaining stable throughout summer heat. Inflorescences average 7 cm in length and 8 cm in width on the terminal ends of branches with 40 or more flowers per panicle. Flower buds are Greyed-Purple 187A, rounded, 6mm in diameter and 7mm in length. Flowers have 6 petals, with individuals measuring 3.8cm in length and 4cm in width. Petals are fan shaped (19mm x 15mm) with ruffled apex, ruffled margins and sagittate bases. Under low light conditions and/or cool mornings flowers open White 155A with Red-Purple 67D /Red-Purple 67A highlights. Flowers are generally Red 53A during the heat of the first day, then fade to Red-Purple 60A. Plants develop rapidly in containers and are tolerant to fluctuations of environmental conditions such as heat and moisture. ‘Ebony Flame’ is easily propagated by softwood stem cuttings under intermittent misting systems. The best rooting material should be taken from actively growing stock plants. Plants of this crapemyrtle clone have not been observed under all possible environmental conditions. The phenotype may vary slightly due to environmental changes such as light intensity and fertility with no alteration of genotype. Asexually propagation of the clone over multiple cycles has demonstrated retention of major distinguishing traits. Color designations are according to the Royal Horticultural Society Colour Chart 2001. Hardiness ratings are based on Plant Hardiness Zone Map, USDA Misc Publ. 814.