Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. A few years ago, I bought a house with a name. It had a beautiful carved sign hanging from a tree that proclaimed the property as 'Crepe Myrtle Hill'. We had an abundance of crape myrtles. The only trouble was the word 'crepe' on the sign was spelled C-R-E-P-E and this small landscape tree's name is spelled C-R-A-P-E. It bothered me, so I looked for the origins of these two words. Both come from the Latin word Crispus, meaning crisp or crinkled. The French adopted the Latin word and a few centuries ago dropped the 's' to come up with their word 'crepe', C-R-E-P-E. The British adopted the French word, but spelled it phonetically, so that it would sound as if it with an ‘a’,changing the first 'e' to an 'a'. The word 'crape' in the name 'crape myrtle' refers to the crisp, crinkled appearance of the petals. Take a close look at an individual crape myrtle flower: each usually has six petals, and each petal has a narrow base like a stalk, endowing the blossoms with an intricate beauty.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.