November 3, 2010

Jacarandas in Bloom

One of the most spectacular sights in Johannesburg is when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom during late spring (October-November):

These trees, together with bougainvillea in bright pinks and purples, make Joburg look absolutely beautiful at that time of year. You feel like wandering through a fairytale when you walk through these humongous tunnels of purple, and after the first rains towards the end of jacaranda season it is even more magical when you wade through a sea of purple blossoms covering every inch of pavement.

Another great, if not better, place to view jacaranda trees in bloom is the capital city Pretoria, not far from Johannesburg, which even has been nicknamed "Jacaranda City."

What's interesting about these jacarandas is that they are not indigenous to South Africa. They were imported from Argentina or Brazil in the 1880s but through their sheer numbers have become a South African icon. However, the South African government has passed new laws targeting invading plants to secure the survival of indigenous species, and the as an exotic tree the Jacaranda falls into that category. Fortunately they are not among the group of plants that have to be removed, but no new ones are allowed to be planted, and if any existing ones die, they cannot be replaced. Let's hope the over 40,000 Jacaranda trees in Pretoria alone will survive for many generations to come!

Read about my Jacaranda Photowalk with the Joburg Photowalkers, where you can view many more beautiful jacaranda pictures: Purple Explosion.

View spectacular images of the African sky: Africa.


Lisa N. said...


W. A. Jeffrey said...

First of all these are some of the prettiest trees on earth. Second the government is insane! People come from all over to view these trees. Dead ones should be replaced when necessary and removing other plants seems dumb too. I can see wanting to keep new invasive species from being introduced but if others are really loved or are not causing much harm they should be left alone.

What is the matter with these people?

Sine said...

I totally agree. At least the government seems to have come to its senses in that the idea to actually remove these trees was short-lived. But I don't think they are replacing dead ones. To me, purists of all sorts are suspicious. If plants were introduced elsewhere centuries ago, they are now native for all intents and purposes. It's the same with genetic engineering and the scare about it where people think it's best to not do it ever. We all eat foods that were genetically engineered over the centuries. Why is it bad today all of a sudden, when we have much more knowledge at our disposal? AND can make food safer due to less pesticides etc? Just because it's not its "pure" form anymore. Well, nothing really is ever pure. And that's a good thing, diversity is good in people as much as in plants. Just my two cents worth:-)