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Plant of the month November

Common Name: Blue Jacaranda

Scientific Name: Jacaranda mimosifolia D.Don

Family: Bignoniaceae

Etymology

Genus:  

Jacaranda - latinised form of an indigenous Brazilian word

Species:

mimosifolia - latin for foliage resembling mimosa

Distribution

Native to southern Bolivia and north-western Argentina. Naturalised in parts of South Africa.

Native Habitat

Seasonally dry forests.

Description 

A deciduous tree growing to 12-15 metres tall and wide, with a single main trunk and complex network of twiggy branches. Leaves are bipinnate, bright green and often described as feather or fernlike. Leaves turn deep golden
in August-September before falling.

Flowers 

Tubular, hyacinth blue flowers are produced in large panicles at the end of branches (terminal), creating a spectacular overall effect from late October to early December. Flowers carry a faint scent and are pollinated by bees.

Fruit

Fruit is a flat, disc-shaped woody follicle 5-6 cm across, green at first but brown and very hard when mature. Seeds are flat, rectangular to 5mm across with a fine membrane wing.

Location in Garden

Various including: near the sea wall below Victoria Lodge (bed112), below the Herb Garden (lawn 17) and near Lion Gate Lodge. To see more locations go to rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/visit/garden-explorer

Information

Forty nine species of Jacaranda occur in South America but this species, first described scientifically in 1822 has become one of the worlds most popular ornamental trees.

It has been extensively planted in Australia since it was first introduced to Sydney by nursery man Thomas Shephard at his Chippendale nursery in the early 1850s. However it was not until 1868, when Michael Guilfoyle solved the problem
of how to propagate trees from cuttings that trees sold from his Guilfoyle’s Exotic Nursery in Double Bay started
to become common in Sydney’s gardens.

Jacaranda mimosifolia is first listed in this botanic garden in 1857 and its flowering was recorded in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in 1868. One of the great joys of early November is to take a Sydney Harbour ferry to observe the developing ‘purple haze’ of Jacaranda flowering in Sydney’s harbourside suburbs.

Grafton in northern NSW has been running a Jacaranda festival since 1934 and other cities around the world such
as Pretoria in South Africa, sometimes called Jacaranda city also celebrate the flowering of these trees. However in
South Africa they have now been declared an
invasive species.

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