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Products > Jacaranda mimosifolia (Standard)
Jacaranda mimosifolia (Standard) - Jacaranda
Image of Jacaranda mimosifolia (Standard)
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Bignoniaceae (Bignonias)
Origin: South America
Flower Color: Lavender Blue
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda) - A deciduous to semi-evergreen tree that typically grows to 40 feet tall, with a 30 foot spread, but can be much broader if low branched. It has a stout trunk with gray rectangular flaked bark and alternately-arranged finely-divided (bipinnately compound) leaves that are at least a foot long and composed of 1/2 inch long narrow elliptical leaflets, giving the tree a delicate fernlike yet tropical appearance. The lavender-blue flowers are 1 1/2 inches long with a curved trumpet shape with a white inner throat that shows only slightly at the base of the upper petals and are formed in abundance in terminal panicles for several weeks in the late spring and summer timing differs with the year and location but late May through June is Jacaranda blooming time in Santa Barbara. The flowers often smoother the tree to create giant violet-blue masses in the landscape, then drop to litter the ground with color. After flowering, green 2 inch wide by 3 inch long tough flat fruit capsules dry to woody brown and then open, like little mouths, before they too drop to the ground these capsules are attractive and often used in craftwork. Plant in full sun with occasional deep summer watering, preferably in a soil that drains well - will often survive in heavier soils but growth is slow and sometimes stunted. It is considered hardy to 20 F but established trees have tolerated temperatures down to 18 F as evidenced by the survival of all of the mature Jacaranda planted even in colder areas of Santa Barbara during our December 1990 cold spell and there were reports of trees going undamaged when subjected to temperatures as low as 10 degrees in eastern Los Angeles county. This incredibly attractive tree is widely used and cherished by many throughout Southern California and other parts of the world, though not everyone is a fan and classify it as tree that drops too much litter leaflets, leaf rachis (stem holding leaflets), flowers and seed capsules drop at different times so it seems to always be shedding something. The names Jacaranda mimosifolia and Jacaranda acutifolia are sometimes used synonymously, but botanically they are considered to be two separate taxa, with Jacaranda mimosifolia being native to mountain valleys of northwestern Argentina and nearby areas of Bolivia while Jacaranda acutifolia hails from dry Andean valleys of central Peru. In older texts the natural distribution of Jacaranda mimosifolia is often listed as extending into Brazil but currently it is thought that all such trees were introduced there, but it is now one of the most common planted tree in most cities in Brazil. In their book Trees of Santa Barbara authors Robert Muller and J. Robert Haller write "The two species of Jacaranda are often confused with one another, and in the nursery trade cross fertilization has undoubtedly contaminated seed sources. Many of the trees in Santa Barbara appear to show characteristics that are intermediate between the two species." Jacaranda is a genus with 34 species form the New World tropics and Jacaranda mimosifolia is considered threatened in its native habitat and it is illegal to cut, harvest and ship the wood for commercial purposes. The name given to the genus by the French botanist Jussieu in 1818 comes from the name given the tree by the indigenous Tupi people of Brazil (Tupi-Guarani language) as translated into Portuguese and is thought to mean "fragrant", though to our noses there seemingly in not any attractive scent emitted by the plant. The specific epithet means "like mimosa" in reference to its resemblance to Mimosa, an old world plant in the pea family that got its name from the Greek word 'mimos' meaning "mimic" in reference to the matching rows of opposite leaflets. Other common names for Jacaranda include Black Poui, Fern Tree, Brazilian Rose Wood, Blue Jacaranda and because of its similarities in foliage, form and mass flowering to the Flamboyant (Delonix regia), it is also called Blue Flame of the Forest" and Flamboyan Azul. The interesting woody flattened seed capsules have also garnered the tree the name Oyster Tree. It is not clear who first introduced the Jacaranda to California but it was well established in Santa Barbara in 1895 when Dr. Francesco Franceschi (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi) chronicled the list of existing plants here in his book Santa Barbara Exotic Flora. Because of its showy display throughout the city, it has been planted out as a street tree more than any other tree and has become one of the two Santa Barbara "Official City Trees", with the other being our native Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia. In the late 1980s we also grew a white flowering form of this tree, Jacaranda mimosifolia 'Alba', but realized what made Jacaranda so special was its beautiful violet-blue color there are several large white Jacarandas still in Santa Barbara, including those in the 600 block of State Street and as Street Trees on Miramonte Drive and Plaza del Monte and the backside of the Santa Barbara Mesa, but we only continue to grow the blue form at our nursery. 

This information about Jacaranda mimosifolia (Standard) displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.