Skip to main content

Headed for an Exam? Go Find a Jacaranda Tree!

Purple canopy: Jacarandas on Del Mar Blvd. in Pasadena
Trees. Again. May in L.A. was cooler than usual and June is no different. Anything that flowers is doing so long and abundantly this year, including the Jacaranda trees with their purple canopies.

Jacarandas have become popular in the California Southland but they originally came from Central and South America and from the West Indies. The Wikipedia entry on Jacarandas mentions (but does not cite) a legend from Pretoria, South Africa, which is known as Jacaranda City: the time of year the tree blooms coincides with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria. Should a flower from the Jacaranda tree drop on your head, you will pass all your exams. Nice. If your headed for a test: go find a Jacaranda!


Lorraine Seal said…
The memories you bring back, Christina!

Years ago, back when the world was young, I studied art history at UCLA. If you know the campus, maybe you know the sculpture garden that sits just before the art department offices and classrooms. I assume it's still filled with jacaranda trees. I recall the vivid color of the blossoms against, in spring, the silver morning low clouds. And how the air would turn butter-yellow as noon approached and passed, as the cloud cover lifted. Then I'd sit under the lavender trees to study.

Years later I worked in a building on Wilshire near Fairfax. It twas the same in the spring; jacaranda trees emerging from the low-hanging morning mists, then shining in the afternoon sun.

Thanks for reminding me of spring in Southern California!


Thank you for sharing your memories. Do UCLA students have superstitions about jacaranda trees too?

Popular posts from this blog

Back to Basics: Dry Summers, Figs, and a Chunk of Cheese

What do we know about simplicity? Figs from our tree. Figs. The taste of summer, the taste of home; my immigrant home. Our backyard tree is heavy with fruit. In the mornings I go out to pick what is ripe; figs for breakfast, a treat straight from the tree; flesh and seeds, refreshing and sweet, grainy resistance and softness at the same time. Figs, the color of their skin, purple with blotches of green or white stripes where they have cracked. The reds and browns inside bring up memories: a summer spent in Normandy, France, with my parents, my brother, and my maternal grandmother. Life was about food in its basic, original form, about mussels and figs and cheese; it was about the ocean and its tides, gigantic but predictable, and about history. We visited Bayeux to see  the tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings;  we spent a day or a half at  Arromanches,  saw a documentary on D-Day and the landing of the allied forces on the b

Another Word for Fast Food? Trzesniewski (Pile On 1)

The other day I passed by a new Subway sandwich place which had opened a few blocks from our house. As I was reflecting its green and yellow sign images of foot long chunks of white bread came to mind, mayo smeared on one half, mustard on the other; ham, provolone, pickles, jalapenos, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes in between and a bag of chips for sides... People in America like to pile on. I also thought of my favorite fast food place in Vienna, which goes by the unspeakable name of Trzesniewski. The original Trzesniewski opened in the first district more than one hundred years ago. Its oldest location is tucked into a narrow street off of Graben. Other outlets are scattered around town. Trzesniewski sells open face sandwiches, slivers of rye bread (white or wheat? no, you do not get to choose!), topped with spreads made from either egg or tomatoes or cucumber, pickle, salmon, herring...  The more elaborate creations come with two or three spreads, applied next to each other

Passionate Nerd, Dull Date: Encounter With a Stamp Collector

"Their album - it's an excuse." Stamps from Austria Last week I received a packet from Austria. It came with two old fashioned looking petit point stamps. I do not collect stamps and would not recognize a Blue Mauritius if you sent me one but the stamps from Austria caught my interest. As my fingers were running over the stitching I couldn't help but wonder: does anyone still do petit point? Are young people here in L.A. or even back in Europe still acquiring the craft? I learned to stitch, sew, and knit in elementary school in Austria but handiwork was not my forte. On the contrary. Crafts used to be the one subject I loathed - though I believe that my mother still keeps the red and blue pot holder I crocheted in second grade. (It was supposed to be a square but ended up an irregular trapeze.) The other thing I was wondering about when the packet arrived is whether young people still collect stamps. When I was in high school I knew a guy my age with a collec