Origin: South America
Improvement status: Cultivated wild material
Seeds per packet: ~20
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED
Life cycle: Perennial
Native to Bolivia & Argentina, blue jacaranda has become one of the most popular ornamental trees across the tropics and sub-tropics (including parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida). Places far from its native range have adopted the charismatic plant: Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is often called "Jacaranda City" (or Jakarandastad in Afrikaans), while in Australia it's grown so widely that most people assume it's native there. Also known as black poui, green ebony tree, the fern tree, or simply jacaranda, its amazing and long-lasting displays of purple flowers are legendary.
But blue jacaranda isn't just a showhorse: its wood is known to have the unusual quality of drying without warping, so it can be carved or turned when still fresh. Most importantly, however, are its little-known medicinal effects: water extract of the species has shown higher antibiotic action against E. coli and B. cereus (two pathogens that can cause intense gastrointestinal illness) than the common antibiotic gentamicin sulfate.
Hardy to Zone 9, blue jacaranda can be grown on most of the Florida peninsula, southern Louisiana, parts of Texas, Arizona, and California. Some trees are even grown in coastal Oregon and Georgia. For those living beyond Zone 9, it makes a spectacular little bonsai tree.
GROWING TIPS: Soak seeds for 24 hours before planting. Sow seed 1/4" deep.