The Jacaranda tree is a beautiful flowering tree that is native to areas of the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Central America; however, it is extremely popular across Australia, Israel, Africa, and the southwestern portion of the United States. Depending on the species, it can range anywhere from a shrub 6 feet (2 m) tall to a picturesque tree 45 feet (18 m) tall. Its leaves resemble a feather and its flowers vary from purple to blue to white. In the autumn months, the leaves of the Jacaranda tree turn yellow in color and both the leaves and the brilliant blossoms fall to the ground.
Pests are not troublesome for the Jacaranda tree. In fact, although it has countless flute-like blossoms, it is a rather hardy tree. It grows best in areas of direct sunlight with rich soil that drains well. If it is planted in soil that does not drain well, it can contract mushroom root rot. In addition, if it is planted close to a sidewalk, its roots can lift the sidewalks or become a hindrance when mowing the lawn.
For those interested in propagating the Jacaranda tree, it is typically done by seed, grafting, or softwood cuttings. If seedlings are grown, it can take a long period of time for them to bloom. As a result, most horticulturists prefer to graft the trees or take roots from cuttings.
Although the Jacaranda tree is clearly loved and valued for its aesthetics, it also has other important uses. One of the most popular varieties is the Blue Jacaranda. Its flowers are a striking sight in any town or lining any street. It is perfect for cooling patios or other sunny spots, especially since it can grow to 60 feet (18 m) wide. Other species of the Jacaranda have additional uses. For example, the Jacaranda copaia is used for its timber and the making of furniture, plywood, wood boxes, matchsticks, and paper.
In Grafton, Northern Rivers New South Wales, Australia, the Jacaranda Festival is held every year from the last weekend of October until the first weekend of November – during the area’s spring-season. It was Australia’s first folk festival and has been around since 1935. It is a celebration of the generosity that nature bestowed on the people of the region and is based on the marvelous sight provided by the many flowering Jacaranda trees in Grafton. Through the course of the festival many fun festivities take place, such as the crowning of the Jacaranda Princess and Queen and the Jacaranda ball.