Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Jacaranda tree provides spring purple power


I will be the first to admit that the sight of a Jacaranda tree in full bloom is an awesome view to behold, and I am truly amazed at the various places around Tucson where the climate has allowed some good-sized trees to develop.

So if you were about to call and ask us what that tree that looks like it is totally enveloped in a cloud of purple flowers, here it is:

Jacaranda mimosafolia, which is commonly called by its genus, is a lovely, fast-growing tree does well in the warmer areas of Tucson.

Twenty or more years ago, when the first few were planted, there was plenty of scoffing by seasoned nursery professionals and horticulturists who thought for sure it would freeze. And there are several notable trees around town that did just that.

They started as a single trunk tree and the wood almost froze down to the ground, but what has resulted are gorgeous multitrunks with a lot more character and a lot more flowers.

That the weather has lessened in winter severity has helped these tress. Also, people became creative about where they planted them so there would be more protection.

An apartment complex on the East Side never gave the secret away of what was inside the courtyard surrounded on all sides by three-story buildings. What a delightful surprise when the purple flowered heads first pushed up over the buildings.

Yes, they are that big and they can grow that fast.

There are 60-foot tall jacaranda in California locations. I’m not betting against that happening here.

Its feathery leaves are perfect leaves for the desert climate, and the trees don’t use much water. We all have to admit it’s here to stay.

I know there are many readers living in parts of Tucson that are too cold for jacarandas. So don’t plant one and be sad when it freezes. Enjoy it where it is happy and plant something that will be beautiful where you are.

There are many glorious flowering trees for the coldest spots, like Mimosa. A 50-foot crown of Flame Mimosa (Albizzia julibrissin ‘Flame’) will take your blues away.

The truth is there are many fantastic flowering trees, and there is the perfect one for every microclimate, every size and space and every allergen hater and on and on.

This is a great time of year to pay attention when you cruise around town at the awesome variety of beautiful flowering trees we are blessed with in the desert.

I know you will find one that is perfect for your landscape.

Cathy Bishop, co-owner of Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, has more than 30 years of gardening experience. E-mail her at familyplus@tucsoncitizen.com.


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