Southern California in Bloom

Star Jasmine on a Chain Link Fence

Star Jasmine on a Chain Link Fence

The nicest thing about Southern California in the springtime is the proliferation of blossoms. Most prevalent is the Star Jasmine as shown above, scientific name Trachelospermum jasminoides. When I walked into Santa Monica yesterday morning, I saw jasmine bushes everywhere. The flowers emit a delightful scent that hits one in waves as one walks past a plant.

Even more spectacular is the flowering jacaranda tree, Family Bignoniaceae. Beginning in May and lasting through most of the summer, the trees, which seem to be everywhere, are full of purple blossoms. While they have no particular scent, the dropped blossoms do play havoc with the paint jobs of parked cars.

Both plants are “invaders” (albeit welcome ones) from other parts of the globe. (Of course, most of the human inhabitants are invaders, too, in their own right.) The star jasmine hails from Malaya, and the jacaranda from South America. Shown below are jacarandas in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires:

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Jacarandas in Buenos Aires

Other than the fact that it marks the end of tax season, these two plants make Southern California a beauty spot every May and June. Now if only the marine layer would go away!