The house where I grew up had two Lavender Jacaranda trees in the yard. The larger of the two was in the front, right outside my bedroom window. Every morning a group of screeching parakeets would land in the tree and make a terrible racket for about 15 minutes. Jacaranda gives a spectacular display of Lavender flowers. I remember as a child, I use to collect the petals and pressed them in between books. I love jacaranda trees so badly- they are so beautiful and I love the purple carpet they create when the flowers fall to the ground. These fragrant, trumpet shaped blossoms have an amazing fragrance during certain times when they are in bloom.
Jacaranda is native to Brazil and Argentina but has been introduced as an ornamental in most parts of the tropics, though in many tropical climates its flowering is light, irregular and disappointing. It was introduced to Kenya in 1907 to the Nairobi Arboretum and is now an outstanding ornamental tree of the city and district, where it flowers when leafless. Although there are 49 species of the tree, the Jacaranda mimosifolia is the most popular locally in California because it thrives in sunny, tropically tinged weather with little rain. In certain areas, including South Africa, Australia and Hawaii, the trees have adapted so completely that they’ve become invasive, crowding out native plants.
Jacaranda mimosifolia is a deciduous tree up to 20 m in height with spreading branches making a light crown. Bark pale brown and furrowed, transverse cracks dividing the ridges between the furrows into long, narrow scales. The bole almost always short and malformed, and up to 40-50 cm in diameter. Leaves compound and feathery on a stalk to 40 cm; up to 30 pairs of pinnae bearing small, pointed leaflets. Flowers striking blue-violet, in clusters, each flower bell shaped, to 4 cm, usually on the bare tree before leaf growth. Fruit a rounded woody capsule to 7 cm across with a wavy edge, brown-black when mature, splitting on the tree to set free many light-winged seeds. Capsules may hang on the tree for up to 2 years. The generic name is a Latinized form of an aboriginal name used in Brazil. The tree loses its large leaves in spring just before flowering occurs. The leaves, which can be up to 2m (6′) long are supposedly the largest compound leaves in the world.
Like cherry blossom time in Japan, Jacaranda season in Mexico is a great time to visit. Springtime in Mexico City begins with thousands of Jacaranda trees blooming like soft purple clouds above the streets and parks. At the turn of the 20th century, then-Veracruz Governor Teodoro Dehesa presented Mexico with a gift that, even today, keeps on giving year after year. After traveling to Brazil and glimpsing a tall tree with stunning lavender flowers and abundant branches reaching toward the sky, he decided to bring a few of this tree’s seeds back home.
In Grafton, Northern Rivers New South Wales, Australia, the Jacaranda Festival is held every year from the last weekend of October until the first weekend of November – during the area’s spring-season. It was Australia’s first folk festival and has been around since 1935. It is a celebration of the generosity that nature bestowed on the people of the region and is based on the marvelous sight provided by the many flowering Jacaranda trees in Grafton. Through the course of the festival many fun festivities take place, such as the crowning of the Jacaranda Princess and Queen and the Jacaranda ball.