Shrub or tree to 7 m or more, multistemmed. Bark brown, peeling slightly to reveal redder bark below. Branchlets terete with dense grey or yellowish brown pubescence. Leaves deciduous, opposite to subopposite, 6–9 × 2.5–4 cm, oblong to elliptic, thin and leathery, upper surface green and sparsely pubescent, lower surface densely pubescent along the midrib and veins, 9–17 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, apex acute or acuminate; petiole 0.2–0.5 cm long and pubescent. Panicles terminal, pyramidal, 8–18 cm long, open and densely pubescent. Flowers (5–)6-merous; calyx tube cup-shaped, 0.5–0.8 cm long with 12–14 deep ribs and covered in yellowish brown pubescence or nearly glabrous; epicalyx segments conspicuous and half as long as the sepals; petals reddish pink, 0.9–1.2 cm; stamens ~35, dimorphic. Capsule elliptic to oblong, 0.8–1.2 × 0.5–0.8 cm with four to six valves. Flowering May to June, fruiting July to August (China). Furtado & Srisuko 1969, Qing et al. 2007. Distribution CHINA: Fujian, Hubei, Zhejiang. Habitat Mixed forests at low altitudes. USDA Hardiness Zone 7–8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Furtado & Srisuko 1969; NT433. Taxonomic note Lagerstroemia chekiangensis is only a more vigorous and hairy form of L. limii (Furtado & Srisuko 1969).
Lagerstroemia limii is in some ways a poor relation of L. fauriei and L. indica – having neither bark nor outstanding floral features to commend it – but if they did not exist it would be thought pleasant enough. It is often rather more shrubby than tree-like, although there is a 5 m specimen at the JC Raulston Arboretum that is on a single stem. The leaves are large, bluish green, and the flowers lavender-purple. In its favour, it is hardier than L. indica, and the purple coloration is useful in breeding: the US National Arboretum has recently released a series of cultivars with intensely coloured flowers that are three-way hybrids involving L. fauriei, L. indica and L. limii. Among these are ‘Arapaho’ (with deep red flowers) and ‘Cheyenne’ (neon red).
The species is occasionally encountered in botanical collections in the United States as either L. limii or L. chekiangensis, and under the latter name is becoming better known in Europe. In Bute Park, Cardiff it has made a 3 m bush (Johnson 2007).