|Pounders Jr, Cecil
Submitted to: USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Cultivar Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Registration
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2013
Publication Date: 12/1/2013
Citation: Pounders Jr, C.T. 2013. Notice to nurserymen of the naming and release for propagation of Ebony Fire crapemyrtle. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Cultivar Release. 48(12):1568-1570.
Interpretive Summary: interpretive summary not needed
Technical Abstract: 'EBONY FIRE' resulted from a cross-pollinated Lagerstroemia indica hybrid seedling derived from a cross between 'Whit VII' and 'Arapaho' crapemyrtles as the female parent and 'Chocolate Mocha' as the male parent. The new crapemyrtle was selected at the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, MS, as an excellent burgundy leafed plant (PCM10) 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 FIRE' has displayed a high level of field resistance to both diseases. The clone also retains foliage better than many green leaf clones during periods of heat and moisture stress in combination with its 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 FIRE' have a spreading growth habit with approximate dimensions of 1.5 meters tall and 1.0 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 3 cm in width with pinnate venation. Fully developed leaves are deep burgundy (Brown 200A) with color remaining stable throughout summer heat. Inflorescences average 12 cm in length and 9 cm in width on the terminal ends of branches with 40 or more flowers per panicle. Flower buds are Red-Purple 59A, rounded, 6mm in diameter and 6mm in length. Flowers have 6 petals, with individuals measuring 4cm in length and 3.5cm in width. Petals are fan shaped (2cm x 1.5cm) with ruffled apex, ruffled margins and sagittate bases. Flowers are generally Red- Purple60A during the heat of the first day, then fade to Red-Purple 60C the second day. Plants develop rapidly in containers and are highly tolerant to fluctuations of environmental conditions such as heat and moisture. 'EBONY FIRE' 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. Asexual propagation of the clone over multiple cycles has demonstrated retention of major distinguishing traits. Further information or a list of nurseries propagating Ebony Fire is available on written request to Cecil Pounders; USDA-ARS, [Cecil.Pounders@ars.usda.gov]. The USDA-ARS does not have plants for sale. In addition, genetic material of this release has been deposited in the National Plant Germplasm System where it will be available for research purposes. It is requested that appropriate recognition be made if this germplasm contributes to the development of a new breeding line or cultivar. 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.