Jacarandas are beautiful trees when they bloom. It's one of the quintessential trees of Southern California like the California pepper tree which it is often confused with when not in bloom. Like the pepper tree, it is not a California native...it originally comes from the more tropica regions of South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.
In bloom, it's a snap to ID. How many trees go into a completely purple or lavender bloom? You can drive the freeways of L.A. in spring and easily pick out a jacaranda in bloom at 70 miles an hour in the blurring landscape.
The flowers are trumpet shaped tubes in lavender or a light purple...pick a color, either one won't be wrong.
When not in bloom, look for the leaves or seed pods to identify. The leaves are bright green and feathery. The seed pods flat and round, like a petrified beaver's tale or a small ping pong paddle.
While they are strikingly beautiful trees in bloom, the jacaranda...like the fig...is not a tree for my garden. Those beautiful flowers are also full of sticky sap that'll ruin your car's paint job, among other things, and they drop by the thousands...everywhere!
Yes, I love the jacaranda tree...as long as it's in my neighbor's yard.
Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
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