Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jacaranda Season

Blue Jacaranda Blossoms: photo by Cliff Hutson
Blue Jacaranda Blossoms: photo by Cliff Hutson


“Beautiful hands are as rare as jacaranda trees in bloom, 
in a city where pretty faces are as common as runs in dollar stockings.”
 - Raymond Chandler


Jacaranda Trees


It can be very difficult to discern seasons in Southern California. Temperatures can near triple digits in December as easily as they can in July. June days can be as cool as the ones in January. But, one “season” that is hard to miss is “Jacaranda season”. One of my favorite times of the year, due to its beauty of blue-violet flowered trees which line our streets and fill many public spaces.

Jacaranda mimosifolia, also known as the “blue jacaranda,” usually blooms in late May or early June, and the blossoms last for a few weeks. The trumpet-shaped flowers are an inch or two long, and usually five-petaled. They look good on the trees. I also think that they look great as a carpet on the ground. But, many complain of the litter gumming up the soles of their shoes. I will admit that the sticky flowers can also be tough on a car’s finish. Gardening guides recommend that these trees be planted well away from swimming pools or other high-maintenance areas.

Jacarandas, ubiquitous as they are, are not native to our area. The trees are indigenous to Northwestern Argentina and adjacent Bolivia into Brazil. Mature trees can reach 25 to 45 feet, in an oval canopy spread almost as wide as its height, with light green, fernlike, 10-12" long compound leaves with small oval leaflets.

Trivia lovers might be interested to know that a Jacaranda mimosifolia in Santa Ana is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 58 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 98 inches and a crown spread of 73 feet. But, as I said, I think they look great in any size.
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