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Tropical Beauty: The Jacaranda Tree

Updated on March 27, 2013
Flowers of the Jacaranda Tree, Auckland, New Zealand
Flowers of the Jacaranda Tree, Auckland, New Zealand | Source

The jacaranda tree (also called Blue Trumpet tree) is a tropical marvel with its striking clusters of deep purple trumpet shaped flowers. It is a deciduous tree, semi-deciduous in warm climates. It makes an excellent shade tree and focal point if the proper space is available in a residential setting, but it is also widely used as a street tree.

Jacaranda is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the Bignoniaceae family native to Central and South America and the West Indies. The Genus name Jacaranda is also used as the common name. The Jacaranda tree, specially the Blue jacaranda, is a one of the most admired flowering trees in existence. Its fern-like leaves look like feathers, and their trumpet-shaped blue flowers are striking. The tree also comes with white flowers, but this variety is less popular and not readily available.

If you are planning to plant a Jacaranda tree in your property, there are things to consider before planting this magnificent tree. This is a large tree, it grows to a height of 25-50 feet . Jacarandas prefer enriched well drained soils, but will tolerate most soil types, except salty soils. Regarding light, bright sunny conditions are preferred. This tree will do well in some shade but will give fewer flowers. It likes moisture but will tolerate some drought. Hardiness USDA Zones 9 - 11.

 Jacaranda tree in a suburban backyard. Kingaroy, Australia
Jacaranda tree in a suburban backyard. Kingaroy, Australia | Source

Widely grown in South America, this beautiful specimen has also become popular and planted throughout Europe, Austrialia, South Africa, and many other locations. In the United States, Jacarandas are grown in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Although the tree is an attractive species, particularly in full bloom, critics say the tree is a bit messy, as it can litter streets or residential areas with its dropped leaves and dropped flowers.

While some people view dropped flowers as disarray, others delight in the beautiful purple carpet the flowers compose on the ground. The Jacaranda tree transcends any negative trait as it is one of the most spectacular flowering trees in existence.

In many parts of the world, such as Mexico and Zimbabwe, the blooming of this tree is welcomed as a sign of spring. It is also said that if one of the trumpet blossoms falls on your head as you are walking underneath a Jacaranda tree, you will be blessed with fortune.

Jacaranda trees in Pretoria which covers Pretoria in a purple blanket during October, hence the name- Jacaranda city
Jacaranda trees in Pretoria which covers Pretoria in a purple blanket during October, hence the name- Jacaranda city | Source

The Jacaranda tree is subject matter of many songs, stories and poems. In Australia, where it is widely planted, it is cited in a Christmas song that says “When the bloom of the Jacaranda is here, Christmas time is near”. In Argentina, author Alejandro Dolina tells a story of a huge Jacaranda that could sing Tango songs on request. Also, Argentinean singer Maria Elena Walsh dedicated a song to the tree: Cancion del Jacaranda. In London, Ann Beard composed a wonderful poem to this beloved tree, a rendition that captures and conveys the beauty and uniqueness of this splendid tree. I hope it inspires you to plant your very own Jacaranda tree.

A Jacaranda Tree.

A Jacaranda tree stands tall, and sways as if to say,
Look! At this magnificence, I’m wearing blue today.
forgive the way I shout aloud, my lack of modesty,
but nowhere in this troubled world is finery like me.

Light rays slide between each leaf, to settle on the tips
to lightly kiss your face with a hundred million tiny lips.
You only have to lift your eyes to greet the filtered sun
a sight I guarantee will warm the heart of everyone.

Though very tall, my leaf is small, its form is one of fern,
large panicles of bluebells swell to trumpet unconcern.
A Bee collecting nectar from an ample deep white throat,
takes flight to join its family, and of its feast to gloat.

Look up to see each fern like leaf, floating up on high,
like footprints of a centipede that stroll across the sky
See how far my branches reach, admire their greenery,
so beautiful and strong, I am the Jacaranda tree.

Poem by Ann Beard, 2008.


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    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      Lots of Jacaranda trees in my neighborhood..very pretty trees..