Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jacaranda-palooza, part 1

One of the memories of my youth is my grandparents house in Long Beach, California. I remember my grandmother explaining to me that some of the trees that lined the street on which they lived, ones that bloomed with lavender-hued flowers, were called jacaranda. (You can read more about that them from the linked article.)

A jacaranda in bloom across the street from where I live in Long Beach.

Perhaps because of the association with my beloved grandmother, that information stuck with me stronger than virtually anything else regarding botany I have ever been told. (Not that I've been told that much, all things considered, but this was many, many years ago that I was told this, so it's somewhat remarkable how it has stuck with me.)

(I won't digress to pondering why certain information sticks in the brain, much to the shock of my regular readers.)

A few weeks ago I got inspired by seeing the myriad jacaranda around the greater L.A. area in bloom to start photographing them, to document how prevalent they are around here, despite not be native to this region (having been imported by horticulturalist Kate Sessions in the 19th century, it says). I recently learned that, technically, the ones here in Southern California are blue jacaranda, despite the flowers looking more purple--perhaps it's the same naming reluctance that makes purple grapes be called red grapes.

The trees started blooming in May, and by this point in June the bell-shaped flowers are dropping, so it really would have been better to have started a couple months ago, but hey, as I haven't mastered time travel, we'll have to make due, won't we?

I fully admit that once the flowers have disappeared, I'll eventually forget that the trees in question are jacaranda. That is, until next spring, when they'll return and my pleasant memory will be renewed.

And now, presented for your perusal, because I can, is the first in a series that will continue until I decide to stop.

Next, a jacaranda by the office in Downtown Los Angeles
(yes, that's the Bonaventure Hotel in the background).

[As always, click on the pictures for a clearer shot, then click Back to return]

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