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