Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Jacaranda mimosifolia

This past month saw the Westcliff Heritage Trust, the Johannesburg Photowalkers and the Pretoria Stadstapper Fotoklap do walks under the majestic purple flowers of the Jacaranda trees. Sadly I missed the walks this year but to make it up, this is the view just outside my office in Forest Town. After a rainstorm, the fallen flowers make the roads look like they covered in purple snow.

The Jacaranda mimosifolia are not native to South Africa but where introduced when seeds were brought over from Argentina in 1888. There are now estimated more than 70,000 Jacarandas in Pretoria alone which explains why it is also known as the Jakarandastad. It is said that there are now more Jacarandas in Johannesburg than Pretoria and the Joburg Photowalkers will tell you they are much more beautiful than the ones in Pretoria.

Sadly the Jacaranda have become too numerous and are said to be endangering the local plants. They have been listed as a Category 3 alien invasive plant which means that no more Jacarandas are permitted to be planted and only trees planted before 2001 are allowed to exist provided that are not within 30m of a river or dam. My grand children would still see these wonderful purple flowers but would their children see the purple snow.

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