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Texas State Shrub

Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica Adopted: June 18, 1997
Texas state shrub
Texas State Shrub: Crape Myrtle
Photograph: © by Bill Hathorn, 2011.
Licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 14 tells the story of crape myrtle and the State of Texas.

Brought to Paris, Texas in 1857 by the wife of General Sam Bell Maxey, the plant was easily absorbed into the Texas landscape. The beautiful blossoms it produced led to rapid deployment. As chronicled in the Resolution, many towns and counties, enamored with this Asian import, went the extra mile to welcome Lagerstroemia indica to the Lone Star State.

Along with the declaration of the official state shrub of Texas, House Concurrent Resolution No. 14 also highlights Lamar County as the Crape Myrtle County Capital and Paris, its county seat, as the Official Crape Myrtle City. Waxahachie is declared the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas and Brazos County is recognized as an Official Crape Myrtle County.

H.C.R. No. 14

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, The crape myrtle has been a distinctive part of the Texas landscape for more than 100 years, and this striking shrub never fails to add a touch of class and beauty to its surroundings; and

WHEREAS, Many Texans appreciate the splendor of the crape myrtle and have taken a special interest in its proliferation in their communities, making it difficult to traverse our great state without witnessing the plant's annual summer flush of color; and

WHEREAS, Originally imported from China, the crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, has thrived in the Lone Star State's often brutal climate, and the establishment of these hardy hybrids has done much to encourage tourism for many Texas cities while also bolstering civic pride among their residents; and

WHEREAS, In 1857, the wife of Confederate General Sam Bell Maxey introduced the crape myrtle to Paris, Texas, and in 1916, after a fire devastated this Northeast Texas town, one of the community's first beautification projects incorporated these colorful shrubs; several years later, newspaper publisher A. G. "Pat" Mayse further established the city's link to the plant when he sold thousands of crape myrtle seedlings for 25 cents each as Paris's residents prepared to celebrate Texas' centennial; and

WHEREAS, More recently, citizens planted crape myrtles along the 18 mile stretch of highway between Paris and the Texas Oklahoma border; this prominent display provides a distinctive welcome to travelers entering the Lone Star State from the north and offers a memorable Texas farewell to those individuals who must leave the friendly confines of our state; and

WHEREAS, The crape myrtle enjoys an equally prominent position in the annals of Waxahachie, where the Crape Myrtle Council has endeavored to further beautify this lovely city with the addition of 2,000 crape myrtles; community volunteers have rallied together to assist in the planting and maintenance of the shrubs in a region that already boasts a profusion of these unique plants; and

WHEREAS, Throughout the town, dazzling blooms subtly accent the rustic charm of Waxahachie's elaborate Victorian style homes, framing these stunning structures in a springtime explosion of red, white, pink, and lavender and enticing visitors from across the country to visit this historic city; and

WHEREAS, The rich soil of Brazos County is especially suited for growing these exquisite plants, and their foliage provides a dramatic complement to the county's magnificent oaks for many months each year; reflecting their concern for the natural beauty and ecology of their community, members of Brazos Beautiful, Inc., have planted crape myrtles in parks and public areas to promote a cleaner, healthier, and more attractive environment; and

WHEREAS, The organization's tireless efforts have greatly enhanced College Station's Richard Carter Park, where visitors can stroll along paths dotted with more than 20 varieties of crape myrtle, delighting in their showy blossoms; gracing urban areas and parklands throughout Brazos County, the crape myrtle has come to symbolize the community's sense of self esteem and civic cooperation; and

WHEREAS, The history of the crape myrtle is indelibly linked to Lamar County and the city of Paris, and its unique relationship with both Waxahachie and Brazos County is also well known among Texans; the citizens of these communities and the many organizations within them are to be commended as they continue in their efforts to promote the propagation of this enchanting plant in Texas; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 75th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby formally recognize the valuable addition of the crape myrtle to our native flora and declare the crape myrtle the Official State Shrub of Texas; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That Lamar County be declared the Crape Myrtle County Capital and that Paris, its county seat, be designated the Official Crape Myrtle City for their longtime association with the celebrated shrub; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That Waxahachie be declared the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas and that Brazos County be recognized as an Official Crape Myrtle County for their communities' lasting contributions to the beautification of Texas.

Crape myrtle became the official state shrub of Texas when Governor George W. Bush signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 14 on June 18, 1997.

Eight years after the adoption of crape myrtle as the official state shrub of Texas, an Angleton botanist, concerned that crape myrtle wasn't a native of Texas, drove an effort to name an official state native shrub.


Sources...

The State of Texas. Texas State Legislature. House Concurrent Resolution No. 14. Austin: The State of Texas, 1997. Web. <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=75R&Bill=HCR14>.
The State of Texas. Texas Legislature Online. Texas Statutes. Austin: Texas State Legislature, 1997. Web. <http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/>
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


Additional Information

Lagerstroemia indica — Overview crapemyrtle: The Encyclopedia of Life.

PlantFiles: Crape Myrtle, Crepe Myrtle: Lagerstroemia indica: Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands Company.

Crape Myrtles for Texas: Collaborative project of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, and the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.

Lagerstroemia indica L. crapemyrtle: USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 March 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Lagerstroemia indica - L., Crape Myrtle: A network connecting science with conservation - NatureServe Explorer: An Online Encyclopedia of Life.

Lagerstroemia indica L.: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

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