Jacaranda time: legendary tree holds lessons for budding graduates

2009-10-20 00:00

IT’S jacaranda time again. Ask any students from the Pietermaritzburg campus of UKZN, past or present, and they’ll tell you the jacaranda legend: “If you haven’t started swotting by the time the flowers fall, you’re going to fail.”

It’s also said that if a flower falls on your head, you’re going to pass. Perhaps it brings extra good luck to have a flower fall on you from the well-known white jacaranda on the library lawn.

A local horticulturalist said that white jacaranda trees are difficult to cultivate and do not grow as big as the purple ones, which perhaps explains why they are rare.

The purple variety are good shade trees, hence their popularity and prevalence as street trees.

Jacaranda mimosifolia are indigenous to Bolivia and Argentina, but have become naturalised in woodland regions of South Africa.

Both purple and white jacarandas have been declared category 3 invader plants, meaning that they may no longer be planted in South Africa.

However, plants growing at the time the legislation appeared in March 2001 are allowed, provided that they are not growing within 30 metres of the 50-year floodline of a river, lake or other inland water body.

The horticulturalist commented that it is “highly unlikely that white ones will become a pest as they are such weak growers, unlike the purple ones”.

— www.biodiversityexplorer.org


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