There’s a little bit of history growing at an Ardmore residence.

There’s a little bit of history growing at an Ardmore residence.

Dana and Joel Boyd have planted a variety of crape myrtles on the grounds of their O Street SW home that have reached historic proportions. They are the same variety of crape myrtles as those planted for the summer Olympic games in Beijing.

The landscape at the O Street SW home was designed by Dana to create colors for all Oklahoma seasons. She said she chose the Red Rocket crape myrtle, a Whitcomb variety, for its “beautiful, deep cherry red blooms.”

Dana said Carl Whitcomb of Lacebark Research in Stillwater is famous for his crape myrtle breeding and the Chinese were impressed with many of his varieties.

After selecting the Red Rocket from a local nursery and planting them, the Boyds read in an article that the Chinese had planted the same variety at the 2008 Olympics. In 2002, the country acquired thousands of unrooted cuttings of Whitcomb’s breakthrough cherry red variety to plant around Beijing at the Olympic festival sites.

“It is difficult to ship plant material round the world because of freight and handling issues and because each country has its own phytosanitary rules to protect against introducing new pests, disease and invasive plants,” Dana said. “America doesn’t allow plants into our country with soil on the roots, so we usually move plants around the world as seeds or rooted or unrooted cuttings. Most other countries have similar rules.”

Chinese officials acquired thousands of unrooted cuttings and airfreighted them to China, where they were rooted and grown into large, mature plants, Dana said. Each year, they took additional cuttings and grew more “Red Rocket” crape myrtles until they built up a large supply to make an Olympic impression.

“The irony is that the crape myrtle is native to China and comes from the southern and eastern foothills of the Himalaya Mountains,” she said.