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26 May 2011

Jacaranda

Jacaranda's are currently in full bloom all over Tunis and it is such a magnificent sight.  I absolutely love the pale violet/purple colour of their flowers.  In Tunis, Jacaranda's are used in urban amenity horticulture and long avenues have been planted on either side with this splendid tree, so when the tree comes into flower the overall effect is wonderful. 







 


"Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America (especially Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay), Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It is found throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, India, Fiji and parts of Africa. The genus name is also used as the common name.

Cultivation and Uses
Jacaranda can be propagated from grafting, cuttings and seeds though plants grown from seeds take a long time to bloom. Jacaranda grows in well drained soil and tolerates drought and brief spells of frost and freeze.
Several species are widely grown as ornamental plants throughout the subtropical regions of the world, valued for their intense flower displays. The most often seen is the Blue Jacaranda Jacaranda mimosifolia (syn. J. acutifolia hort. non Bonpl.). Other members of the genus are also commercially important; for example the Copaia (Jacaranda copaia) is important for its timber because of its exceptionally long bole.
Pretoria in South Africa is popularly known as The Jacaranda City due to the enormous number of Jacaranda trees planted as street trees and in parks and gardens. In flowering time the city appears blue/purple in colour when seen from the nearby hills because of all the Jacaranda trees. The time of year the Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria coincides with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria and legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams.

Jacarandas in bloom have become closely associated with Ipswich and South East Queensland. The Ipswich City Council have used jacarandas to line avenues, and commercial developments in some areas, particularly along the Bremer River have incorporated jacarandas into their landscape design. The trees are common in parks throughout the city, most notably in a long curved avenue in New Farm Park, in Goodna, and in private gardens. Dairy Farmers milk company, located on "Jacaranda St", East Ipswich, produces a brand of iced coffee justly named "Jacaranda" which is only available for sale in Ipswich.

The city of Grafton on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, is also famous for its Jacarandas. Each year in late October and early November the city has a Jacaranda festival[4] during the period of full bloom. A street parade, local public holiday and a series of events are held. A local public holiday sees the city's businesses perform street theatre for passers by and street stalls proliferate. A Jacaranda Queen and Jacaranda Princess are named at a formal ball.  The tree canopies in some of Sydney's north shore and harbour suburbs in the east have a purple glow during late spring.

The main street of the town of Red Cliffs, Victoria, Australia (part of the Calder Highway) was named Jacaranda Street in the original town plans of the early 1920s and Jacaranda trees have since been planted to line this street.

Jacarandas are also popular in the southern and central parts of Florida and the southwestern United States, notably in Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California. Jacaranda can be found throughout most of Southern California, where they were imported by the horticulturalist Kate Sessions. In California, jacarandas are known as the trees that bloom twice a year, although the fall bloom is generally not as striking as the spring bloom. Tampa, St. Petersburg, and other southern Florida cities are ribboned by purple flowers during peak bloom of April. Jacaranda trees are principally found in parks and interspersed along the avenues and streets. Jacarandas were introduced to Israel over 50 years ago, where they are in full bloom during May. They are popular and can be found in cities all over Israel.

 
In many parts of the world, such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Lisbon, and Zimbabwe the blooming of this tree is welcomed as a sign of spring.

Brazilian Jacaranda is also used as the wood for the body of acoustic guitars.
Jacaranda can also be found in the South China Karst (a World Heritage site). The Chinese use the leaves to make a distinctive purple dye."
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