Crape Myrtles are pleasant-looking trees scattered all over the campus and town. The name comes from the flowers, which are small, dry, delicate, colorful, crumpled-looking things that resemble crepe paper. Although "crepe paper" is spelled with an "e," "Crape Myrtles" are commonly spelled with an "a," though both spellings are used. The color of the the flowers varies depends on the variety of tree, and ranges from white to deep magenta or purple. The bark is smooth and reddish, also pleasing to the eye.
These are not native to California. Crape Myrtle is native to East Asia and Australia. It was imported to the United States from China and Korea in the late 1700's and is very common in the southeastern US. It is becoming much more common in other parts of the US.
For more about Davis plants, see Town Flora.