March is the beginning of spring in South India and it is always a stress time for us students cramming for the examinations. The walks during the short breaks in the evening from studies would be relaxing under the various flowering trees like Gulmohar, Yellow Gulmohar, Rain Tree and Jacaranda. Jacaranda! The sight of this fantastic blue blooms covering the tree is enough to erase all the blues away.
In Hindi the tree is known as Neeli Gulmohar and the botanical name is Jacaranda Mimosifolia belonging to *Bignoniaceae family. The tree is native to tropical regions of Brazil, Central America, India, Mexico, South Africa and the Caribbean islands. In India the trees start blooming from March to May.
The trees grow up to 30 meters with delicate bipinnate leaves. The flowers appear in bunches with each tubular flower having 5 lobed petals. The flowers are blue, purple and white 1” long and 1½” wide. The fruit is almost round and flat capsule. These are ornamental trees planted to beautify cities and parks.
Do you know there is a city nicknamed as The Jacaranda City? The city is none other than Pretoria in South Africa. It is named so because of many Jacaranda trees planted in parks and lining street avenues.
In Brazil, the Jacaranda wood is used to make guitars. A slightly mature Jacaranda sapling will make a beautiful bonsai.
*The Bignoniaceae, or Trumpet Creeper Family, is a family of flowering plants comprising of about 650-750 species in 116-120 genera. Indian Cork Tree is another example of Bignoniaceae.