Purple Flowers of Jacaranda mimosifolia
Purple Flowers of Jacaranda mimosifolia

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Description, Care and Uses

The Jacaranda mimosifolia is a fern with a trunk and a lavender tree, could say someone who always has difficulty writing a decent introduction.

Fortunately, the editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’ is not renowned for such problems, and therefore can introduce the look forward reader directly to the subject, which is in this case nothing but acquaintance with Blue Jacaranda and the possibilities of exploiting this extraordinary tree properties.

So, just before beaming, delivers the text and after that whole transports to the garden to plant one more Blue Jacaranda tree.

Blue Jacaranda Origin

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Map of Origin
Jacaranda mimosifolia (Blue Jacaranda) Map of Origin

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Native Jacaranda in a Brazilian Landscape
Native Jacaranda in a Brazilian Landscape

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Brief Description

Scientific name

Jacaranda mimosifolia D. Don

Synonyms

Jacaranda acutifolia

Common name(s)

Blue Jacaranda, Jacaranda, Black Poui, Fern Tree, Brazilian Rose Wood

General characteristics

Type of foliage: Deciduous

Form: Oval shape spreading tree with a single trunk

Texture: Fine

Height: 8-15 m (26-50 ft)

Diameter: 15-20 m (50-65 ft)

Growth rate: Fast

Flowering period (Northern Hemisphere): July- September

Fruiting period: Summer – Autumn

Shapes and colours

Bark: Grey-brown

Leaves shape: Bipinnately compound

Foliage colour: Green

Foliage colour in autumn: Green

Flowers: Tubular

Flowers colour: Purple

Fruit: Brown capsule

Plantation

Soil type: Well-drained, sand, loam, acidic to slightly alkaline

Exposure: Sun

Soil pH: 5.5-8

Watering: Moderate

Hardiness: −4 °C (25 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 9b)

Uses

Specimen, parks, squares, sidewalks

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia and Jacaranda mimosifolia 'Alba' at Gympie Civic Centre - Australia
Jacaranda mimosifolia and Jacaranda mimosifolia 'Alba' at Gympie Civic Centre - Australia

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Etymology

Etymology of the genus name: The name of the genus Jacaranda is the Neo-Latin version of the word ‘jakara’na’, a word by which the native South American Tupi called the tree. Its meaning is ‘fragrant’, ‘aromatic’, ‘scented’ and aptly describes the aromatic flowering of the Blue Jacaranda. The word passed to the Portuguese conquistadores, they introduced it to Portuguese language, and from there the French botanist Antoine Laurent de Jussieu  (1748-1836) – the great family of naturalists and botanists Jussieu – officially baptized the genus, the distant 1818.

Etymology of the species name: The name mimosifolia is also Neo-Latin but compound word, composed of ‘Mimosa‘ and ‘folia’. Obviously, the word ‘Mimosa’  refers to the homonym genus of plants and the word ‘folia’ – not quite obviously – is the plural of the Latin word ‘folium’, derived from the Ancient Greek ‘φύλλον’, which in turn comes from Proto-Indo-European ‘bʰolh₃yom’ and simply means ‘leaves’. Therefore, mimosifolia literally means Mimosas leaves but has been established as leaves like Mimosa. And really the leaves of the Blue Jacaranda look like the leaves of Mimosa and not, for example, with the leaves of Banana tree.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Origin & Life span

Origin: Jacaranda mimosifolia is a tree of the subtropical and tropical regions of South America. Its cradle is located in Bolivia and Argentina, where its native populations are found at an altitude of 500-2400 m (1640-7800 ft). In tropical areas it is mainly found in the highlands while in the subtropical at lower altitude as it is a plant sensitive to frost. The absolute minimum temperature in its natural niches is 5 °C (41 °F) while the average monthly temperature is 34 °C (93 °F).

Life span: Blue Jacaranda, if is planting in the appropriate soil-climate environment and take care as young tree, will see the decades of passing and glorious can reach at the age of 150 to 200 years.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Morphological Elements

Jacaranda mimosifolia is a deciduous or semi-evergreen tree, consisting – mainly – of a trunk and spreading libs, moderately branched. Its shape is initially round, but as the tree age it becomes flattened spherical – hemispherical.

Its asymmetrical canopy is of fine texture with open density and irregular outline. At the time of flowering – also in this plant – the canopy literally disappears under the plenty of flowers.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia in Full Bloom
Blue Jacaranda in Full Bloom

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Botanical Description

The trunk of Jacaranda mimosifolia is thick and straight. It is covered with thin grayish-brown bark, which is initially smooth but growing the tree becomes scaly, rough, with shallow grooves.

The libs come out in all directions, are moderately branched and have a gray-brown color – as the branches. Twigs, which are slender, and often takes a slightly zig-zag shape are light red-brown in color.

Blue Jacaranda leaves are arranged alternately, their length is between 25 and 45 cm (10-18 in) and they are bipinnately compound. Each compound leave consists of 13 to 31 elliptic to elliptic-oblong pinnae, and each pinnae of 10 to 41 stable leaflets. The shape of the leaflets is elongated to elongated-ellipsoid, their color is green, and they have a length of 3-12 mm (0.12-0.48 in) and a width of 1-4 mm (0.04-0.16 in).

The tubular-shaped flowers are hermaphrodite. Their amazing color varies with the shade of blue – blue-purple, lilac-purple, lavender blue or mauve. Flowers are carried on clusters – upright terminal panicle inflorescences – the length of which reaches up to 45 cm (18 in). The size of each individual flower varies in length from 2.4 to 5.2 cm (1-2 in) and in width between 0.7 to 1.2 cm (0.27-0.47 in).

Pollination takes place with insects, including of course those sympathetic arthropods – bees – that are paradoxically insisting on producing honey, regardless of supply and demand.

And after the bees finished their work on the tree, then the fruits appearanced, which are spherical-flattened capsules, of 3.2-5.8 cm (1.2-2.28 in) in length and 4-6 cm (1.5-2.3 in) in width. 

The seeds, 5-6 mm (0.19-0.23 in) long and 4-4.5 mm (0.15-0.17 in) wide, are small and winged.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Planting

Temperature: Jacaranda mimosifolia does not tolerate low temperatures and frost. The minimum temperatures, which are also the lowest strength limit, range between -1 to -4 °C (30-25 °F). Of course fully established trees can, for a short time, tolerate temperatures of -5 to -7 °C (23-19.4 °F), with manageable damages.

At high temperatures the plant’s behavior is excellent. AHS classifies the plant in zones 6-11 and indeed, temperatures often reaching 40 °C (104 °F) have no negative effect on the plant.

It is worth noting that the rich flowering of the tree contributes both the relatively cold winter and the relatively warm spring. This explains the  often non-existent or rare blooming of the tree when planted at low altitudes or near the sea in the tropics.

Soil and pH: Excellent soil porosity and unimpeded air circulation in the rhizosphere  are a prerequisite for planting and growing the tree. And the reason is that it does not tolerate at all in the clay soils and in those that are waterlogged. It is therefore advisable to plant Blue Jacaranda in those that are light to medium texture and have excellent drainage. The depth and fertility of the soil do not seem to affect it. And indeed, in its natural ecological niches growing without problems in both poor and shallow depth soils. In terms of pH, tolerate and growing in a wide range of values, from 5.5 to 8. However, it prefers slightly acidic to neutral reaction soils with values ranging from 6.5 to 7.

Exposure: Jacaranda mimosifolia is planted in full sun exposure.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia Racemose Inflorescence
Jacaranda Inflorescence

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Care

Fertilization: Jacaranda mimosifolia fertilization is carried out from beginning of spring until the beginning of summer. Can be used a complete fertilizer  with main elements N-P-K in a ratio of 1: 1: 1 (10-10-10). Administration is done once, if it is controlled release, or in doses at a frequency of 1 every 20 to 30 days. The indicative total amount of administration for adult trees is 350 to 700 gr (0.77 – 1.54 lb) – 1/3 of the quantity is given by the first application. No other fertilization required after the beginning of summer.

Irrigation: Blue Jacaranda in its niches grows in environments with average annual rainfall  of 600 to 2000 mm. Also, in areas with a desert climate type, tolerates lower annual rainfalls ranging from 350 to 430 mm. Therefore, it has minimal water requirements and, if established, can tolerate  long periods of drought. However, where it is possible to irrigate, it is recommended that it be watered when the soil at a depth of 5 to 8 cm has dried.

Pruning: Generally, Jacaranda mimosifolia systemic pruning is necessary for the plant, especially during the first 10 to 15 years of its life. Jacaranda tree trimming and pruning in this period is mainly aimed at the proper formation of a skeleton that will support the growth of the tree in later years. But also after this stage, pruning should be carried out on a yearly basis, both to promote flowering and to remove aging and problematic shoots and branches. However, more evidence of Blue Jacaranda pruning, will find the patient reader in a future tribute, which we are committed to doing – by the conspicuous (in)consequence that distinguishes us – with this exclusively subject.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia in Full Blooming
Jacaranda mimosifolia in Full Blooming

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Plant Protection

Jacaranda mimosifolia practically does not face serious problems from pests and diseases. It is a highly tolerant tree and is rarely infected by parasites. Of course some of them disagree.

Pests : Between its pests that have the honor to include are Phytoliriomyza jacarandae, the Aphis fabae (Bean Aphids), the scale Insignorthezia insignis  (Greenhouse Orthezia) and the pseudococcus (mealybugs) Nipaecoccus viridis (Spherical Mealybug) and Planococcus kenyae (Coffee Mealybug).

By using the appropriate insecticides, control is relatively easy – with the exception of Phytoliriomyza jacarandae. The populations of Phytoliriomyza jacarandae are difficult to manage.

Diseases: The root rots caused by the fungus Armillaria heimii (Armillaria Root Rot) is the most serious, although not common, disease of Jacaranda mimosifolia. It occurs mainly in soils that do not drain and its treatment – even with chemical formulations – is extremely difficult.

Weeds: The most severe weed is the parasitic plant Cuscuta cassytoides (Dodder). It does not often affect Jacaranda mimosifolia but when it does not mean to leave tree in piece. The control of it is – and in this case – extremely difficult.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Varieties

Although it is a widespread species, few Jacaranda mimosifolia varieties have been created.

Of these, the most important are:

  • Jacaranda mimosifolia ‘Alba’
  • Jacaranda mimosifolia ‘Sakai01’

The first, ‘Alba’ is the well-known variety of Jacaranda mimosifolia with white flowers. The second ‘Sakai01’ is a new variety and much smaller than the typical species. It can be formed in both tree and bush, while it has purple-colored flowers.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Medicinal Use

Ethnobotany: Almost all plant parts of the Jacaranda mimosifolia are used in various forms in the traditional medicine of many peoples. In particular, the flowers, leaves and bark are administered for the treatment of Neuralgia and Varicose Veins and generally against infections.

Pharmacy: Research has justified the traditional use of the plant. Jacaranda mimosifolia has antibiotic and antioxidant properties and in modern medicine it is used against Bacterial Infections, Gonorrhea and Syphilis. Especially for the latter, its contribution is great if someone consider that about 1 in 3 people are allergic to penicillin.

Also, it is scientifically proven that Jacaranda mimosifolia has qualities that treat Leukemia and water extracts of the tree shows higher antimicrobial action against Escherichia coli and Staph.

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia the Bipinnately Compound Leaf
Jacaranda mimosifolia the Bipinnately Compound Leaf

Jacaranda mimosifolia - Use in Garden & Landscape

Jacaranda mimosifolia is used as an ornamental plant, thanks to its light like-fern foliage, its interesting form it can have and of course thanks to its rich, abundant flowering, which under ideal conditions lasts from 50 to 60 days.

By specifying it, could be said that Jacaranda mimosifolia is being exploited:

  • As a tree of particular interest planted alone
  • By planting in sidewalks of wide width
  • By group planting in gardens and landscapes
  • As a tree of xeroscapes
  • In coastal areas – if it is protected from aerosol salts
  • In urban plantings, because it tolerate the extremely harsh environment of cities – as shown in Athens for example, the heroic era of photochemical smog and the associated air pollutants of the atmosphere

Jacaranda mimosifolia – Description, Care and Uses

Jacaranda mimosifolia - References

The references of Jacaranda mimosifolia of South American origin, present the outstanding Bolivian musical quintet Rumillajta with the song ‘Mallku’.

  1. Nawaz, G., Hameed, A., & Gulzar, T. (2013). Jacaranda mimosifolia and Allamanda cathartica: Phytotherapeutic potential, antioxidant potential and chemical composition. Saarbrücken: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.
  2. Perry, F., & Hay, R. (1982). Guide to tropical and subtropical plants. South Melbourne, Australia: Sun Books.
  3. Whistler, W. A. (2000). Tropical ornamentals: A guide. Portland, Or: Timber Press.

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