AppearanceThe tree grows to a height of 5 to 15 m. Its bark is thin and grey-brown in colour, smooth when the tree is young though it eventually becomes finely scaly.
The twigs are slender and slightly zigzag; they are a light reddish-brown in colour. The flowers are up to 5 cm long, and are grouped in 30 cm panicles. They appear in spring and early summer, and last for up to two months.
They are followed by woody seed pods, about 5 cm in diameter, which contain numerous flat, winged seeds. The Blue Jacaranda is cultivated even in areas where it rarely blooms, for the sake of its large compound leaves. These are up to 45 cm long and bi-pinnately compound, with leaflets little more than 1 cm long. There is a white form available from nurseries.
Profuse flowering is regarded as magnificent by some and quite messy by others. The unusually shaped, tough pods, which are about 5.1 to 7.6 cm across, are often gathered, cleaned and decorated for use on Christmas trees and in dried arrangements.
HabitatThe Blue Jacaranda has been cultivated in almost every part of the world where there is no risk of frost; established trees can however tolerate brief spells of temperatures down to around −7 °C. In the USA, 48 km east of Los Angeles where winter temps can dip to −12 °C for short several-hour periods, the mature tree survives with little or no visible damage.
In the United States, it grows in parts of Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in southern Portugal, southern Italy It was introduced to Cape Town by Baron von Ludwig in about 1829. It is regarded as an invasive species in parts of South Africa and Queensland, Australia, the latter of which has had problems with the Blue Jacaranda preventing growth of native species. Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, also see the growth of many Jacarandas.
CulturalPretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa is popularly and poetically known as Jacaranda City or Jakarandastad in Afrikaans because of the huge number of the trees which turn the city blue when they flower in the spring. The name Jakarandastad is frequently used in Afrikaans songs, such as ''Staan Op'' by Kurt Darren.
Jacarandas are very widely grown as ornamental trees in Australia. The popular Christmas song Christmas Where The Gum Trees Grow makes reference to Jacaranda trees, as the blooms are only seen in summer time — as the song explains, "When the bloom of the jacaranda tree is here, Christmas time is near". The University of Queensland in Brisbane is particularly well known for its ornamental jacarandas, and a common maxim among students holds that the blooming of the jacarandas signals the time for serious study for end-of-year exams.
In Argentina, writer Alejandro Dolina, in his book ''Crónicas del Ángel Gris'' , tells the legend of a massive ''jacarandá'' tree planted in Plaza Flores in Buenos Aires, which was able to whistle tango songs on demand. María Elena Walsh dedicated her ''Canción del Jacarandá'' song to the tree. Also Miguel Brascó's folk song ''Santafesino de veras'' mentions the aroma of ''jacarandá'' as a defining feature of the littoral Santa Fe Province.
British singer songwriter Steve Tilston eulogizes the beautiful blue tree he encountered in Australia with his song "Jacaranda" . The American singer songwriter Tori Amos briefly mentions the tree in her lyrics with the song entitled "Don't Make Me Come to Vegas".
This type of tree also figured prominently into the plot of ''What Dreams May Come,'' a romantic/drama/fantasy film.
Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.