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Jacaranda Trees in Bloom: My Photos

Updated on September 14, 2014

Roses Are Red, Jacarandas Are... PURPLE!

May Day, May Day... our magic purple trees, Jacarandas, are back!

I've lived in California since 1996. I fell in love with these trees that first spring when I flew back from May Day festivities back east and looked down from the airplane to see that mad vandals had apparently spilled bright purple paint across all the streets in Orange County. During final approach, I suddenly realized: the streets hadn't turned purple over the weekend; it was all the trees in the median strips blooming that impossible color.

I guess native Californians are used to them, but this non-native Californian is still amazed every spring when, for two months, all the trees lining the streets and parks of Orange County bloom a shade as spectacular as the autumn colors of maples where I grew up. They've only just started (above) on May 1st, so let me share a few photos from previous years to whet your appetite. I'll post more jacaranda tree photos when the blooming season really takes off.

Jacaranda Trees in Bloom: May 26, 2008

During the week when I moved into my new home, the jacarandas in the park outside went into full bloom. There was a strange overcast day, then the sun came out:

My First Glimpse of My New Neighborhood

It was love at first sight.

About Jacaranda Trees - Origins, Growing Jacarandas, and More

Mature jacarandas (aka "blue jacarandas," Jacaranda mimosafolia) are about 40-50 feet tall with gray bark, blooming with bunches of trumpet-shaped purple flowers from the beginning of May through June. California's jacarandas sometimes bloom again in the fall. They have delicate sprays of small green leaves somewhat like mimosa trees, dropping them in the winter. In late summer the flowers are replaced by large papery, woody seed-pods that often hang on for a year or two.

These subtropical trees can be sprouted in containers and pots, but they will eventually need lots of room, as they tend to spread. Mature trees bloom best with plenty of sun. You can easily sprout them from seed, but this excellent Jacaranda Tree Growers Guide recommends grafting. There seems to be some disagreement about whether or not to prune; the beautiful trees next to my condo have not been pruned that I can see.

The main problem with jacarandas (which I don't think is much of a problem) is that they tend to litter the ground with flowers, which are a little sticky; some people complain of the smell when they rot. Don't plant jacarandas over a pool; they'll clog your drains. They can also be messy over sidewalks.

The introduction of Southern California's Jacarandas from Argentina/Bolivia is credited to Kate Sessions, "Mother of Balboa Park" in San Diego, where the purple trees adorn many avenues. In fact, jacaranda is the official tree of San Diego.

Fun Jacaranda trivia: the chorus of a popular Australian Christmas song says, "When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here, Christmas time is near." Yep, they've got a lot of Jacarandas down under. They are also popular trees in South Africa and Israel. As you can tell, they flourish in hot, dry climates.

Jacarandas Photo Gallery - Stay Tuned For More!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Blue jacaranda tree, illawara flame tree, May 2008.Jacarandas just getting into bloom, May 2, 2011.Flying my kite by jacaranda trees, May 2010.Jacaranda tree flowers just opening, May 2, 2011.Jacaranda pods, May 8, 2012.Mexican green parrot in jacaranda, May 16, 2012.Jacaranda flowers against a cloudy sky, May 25, 2012.Jacaranda at Irvine Great Park, 2013.
Blue jacaranda tree, illawara flame tree, May 2008.
Blue jacaranda tree, illawara flame tree, May 2008.
Jacarandas just getting into bloom, May 2, 2011.
Jacarandas just getting into bloom, May 2, 2011.
Flying my kite by jacaranda trees, May 2010.
Flying my kite by jacaranda trees, May 2010.
Jacaranda tree flowers just opening, May 2, 2011.
Jacaranda tree flowers just opening, May 2, 2011.
Jacaranda pods, May 8, 2012.
Jacaranda pods, May 8, 2012.
Mexican green parrot in jacaranda, May 16, 2012.
Mexican green parrot in jacaranda, May 16, 2012.
Jacaranda flowers against a cloudy sky, May 25, 2012.
Jacaranda flowers against a cloudy sky, May 25, 2012.
Jacaranda at Irvine Great Park, 2013.
Jacaranda at Irvine Great Park, 2013.

Jacaranda Trees in the Breeze - Ah, spring! (yes, it's turned sideways)

A little video clip I took on a breezy day in May.

Free Jacaranda Tree Wallpaper - My Photo

For Personal Use Only - Please Don't Upload Elsewhere!

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Mexican Parrots Love Jacarandas, Too - Video from Parrots.Org

Remember my noisy neighbors, the Mexican Red-Cheeked parrots that have made their home in southern California after getting hunted almost to extinction in Mexico? They love jacaranda flowers! I'll often see them roosting or browsing in the trees outside.

Jacaranda Tree Poll - Honk if You Like Purple

Have you ever seen jacarandas in bloom?

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Please share my jacaranda photos with your friends!

© 2011 Ellen Brundige

Guestbook - Thanks For Stopping By

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  • profile image

    romanceworks 5 years ago

    Just love your jacaranda images.

  • John Dyhouse profile image

    John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

    I am a tree lover, I paint photograph and grow trees. However, never had an opportunity to see one of these. Maybe I will get to visit the area one day. Great photos, great lens, blessed

  • JodiFromFlorida profile image

    JodiFromFlorida 5 years ago

    I never saw a Jacaranda tree until I moved to Florida. The color is indescribable, so gorgeous. I really enjoyed your lens!

  • profile image

    RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

    Loved your tree lens! Thanks.

  • delia-delia profile image

    Delia 5 years ago

    When we lived in California and had our first house build, my mom gave us a Jacaranda Tree, but it was white, I then planted a Wisteria near it for contrast, it was lovely...I miss being able to have those type of trees and plants in

  • profile image

    Reviews4all 6 years ago

    I lived in California for 6 years in the 70's but don't remember seeing jacarandas. But I also lived in Zimbabwe and half the streets there were lined up with Jacarandas. They were so popular there that they even had a local radio called, yes you guessed it,"Radio Jacaranda". Presently I'm living in Madeira Island and would you believe it; lots and lots of lovely jacarandas here too!

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    I love the way that you spray-painted the flame tree just for the photo.


  • efriedman profile image

    efriedman 6 years ago

    Great lens and fabulous photos of Jacaranda trees - one of my favorites. I used to say there are two seasons in Southern California: when the Jacarandas are blooming, and when they're not. Thanks for this interesting account.

  • profile image

    theprintcenter 6 years ago

    Wow! What a beautiful lens. The trees look so majestic. Thank you so much for sharing this. Thumbs up!

  • profile image

    BeyondRoses 6 years ago

    The Jacaranda Trees are heavenly ... the purple reminds me of summer wine and lilac. Love the photos!