Monday, May 13, 2013

Blue jacaranda sighting in Davis

Every year in mid-May there’s a spellbinding sight not far from our house. Yesterday I grabbed my camera to capture this fleeting beauty.

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Planted in front of a nondescript apartment building is a blue jacaranda tree (Jacaranda mimosifolia) and it’s in full flower.

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In warmer parts of the world jacarandas may be common but not so in our part of California. In fact, this tree is the only one I know of in Davis.

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Blue jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) is native to Brazil, northwestern Argentina and Bolivia. Mature trees are hardy to 18-20°F, which is colder than our average winter. Based on that you’d expect to see more specimens in the Sacramento area. Maybe it’s because local nurseries don’t promote Jacaranda mimosifolia the way they do other trees?

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As you can see from these photos, the lavender-colored flowers are stunning. But even after the flowers have dropped, the foliage is graceful and elegant. The overall impression is light and airy, somewhat reminiscent of the Persian silk tree (Albizia julibrissin).

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As is the case with many shrubs and trees that produce large quantities of flowers (think wisterias!), the blue jacaranda is not universally loved. However, if I had a large property I would gladly put up with flower debris and seed pods to enjoy a sight like this.

13 comments:

  1. I'm assuming this is the one on 8th street, close to Pole Line Rd. There's an even bigger and better one on B street, between 6th and 7th street. It's on the east side of the road, and is rising up behind a one story house, in their back yard. It's at least four times as large.

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    1. Yep, it's the one on 8th St. I wonder how it got there? Somebody clearly planted it, but it's just not the kind of neighborhood where you'd expect to find an exotic tree.

      I'll check out the one of B St. tomorrow.

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  2. Your post is helping me stay positive. Beautiful trees. Sweep, sweep. I need the exercise anyway. And what tree isn't messy?

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    1. Agreed. There are trees far less attractive that produce far more litter.

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  3. I wish Jarandas were hardy enough to grow here. They're such stunning trees and look even more fabulous when in bloom! Thanks for sharing with us this blue delight!

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    1. Needless to say I agree whole-heartedly! I'll be collecting seeds from that blue jacaranda this summer :-).

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  4. How beautiful! I don't know of a single tree species that isn't a "problem" of some sort for gardeners. I'd put up with the "mess" of this one I think.

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    1. Me too. It's all relative. Our nasty suckering Bradford pear tree (a city tree, i.e. we can't remove it) is much messier and far less beautiful. I'd rather have a blue jacaranda any day!

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  5. I love these trees. There are a bunch of them on the UC Davis campus on either side of Academic Surge. One or two by the small A permit lot, and a whole grove practically in the courtyard between it and Engineering III (did they rename it yet? I don't recall the new name if so).

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    1. Jenny, thank you for the tip! I came across the two jacarandas in the A permit lot next to Meyer Hall earlier today, and I'll check out the others on Saturday (free parking). "A whole grove," that sounds VERY promising!

      I wish somebody would create a botanical map of the UC Davis campus. There are so many interesting plants!

      Engineering III is Ghausi Hall now, by the way.

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  6. Come to Sydney in November. If you blindfold yourself and throw a stone you will hit one! Your lovely wife can confirm.

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    1. Funny, that's pretty much exactly what she said last night :-).

      Take some pictures for me come November, OK?

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