A huge regret: I've never taken pictures of jacarandas in bloom, arching over a street like giant puffs of cotton candy (and just as sticky). This picture, in fact, is of a place in South Africa called Jacaranda Alley, from the stock.exchng photo site.
The May 12 Los Angeles Times story on the sticky flowers got me wondering--who brought the trees here, where they turn whole streets into fairyland?
Wikipedia tells me they are native to South and Central America and the Caribbean, but now they're everywhere--popular in Australia, India, and (clearly) South Africa.
According to the San Diego Historical Society, a horticulturalist and landscape artist named Kate Sessions opened a plant nursery in San Diego's City Park (now Balboa Park) in 1892. In return for 30 acres from the city, she promised to plant 100 trees a year in the park, and more throughout the city. She did, and many of them were jacarandas. Thank her next time you pick the sticky blossoms off your windshield.
She's also credited with bringing Brazilian pepper trees to the area, according to Hillquest.com. If you want to see gorgeous photos of jacarandas at places like the Library tower, the Bonaventure, the Grove, and Disney Concert Hall, go to Jacaranda-palooza.