The Jacaranda City

During the months of October and November, Pretoria is transformed into a glowing purple mass - the Jacaranda trees are in bloom! Jacarandas line the streets and dot the parks and gardens throughout the city and carpet their floors with their bee-attracting blossoms.

It is estimated that there are between 40 000 and 70 000 Jacaranda trees in Pretoria - nicknamed the Jacaranda City - which choreograph their spectacular show over an eight week period in late spring each year. There are also almost 100 rare white Jacarandas that can be found in Herbert Baker Street in Groenkloof.

Jacarandas are indigenous to South America, but their history in South Africa starts as early as the 1880s when they were imported from Argentina. In 1888 two trees were planted in a school in Arcadia. Their popularity as a street tree soon took off and they now line many kilometres of streets throughout Pretoria.

Jacarandas have become such a large part of Pretoria's culture, that a local radio station has even been named Jacaranda FM. There is also a legend among University of Pretoria students that if a Jacaranda blossom lands on your head, you will pass all your year-end exams.

Sadly, since the Jacaranda tree is exotic, it is considered to be an invader plant, therefore no new trees are allowed to be planted. Recently laws were passed that allow existing trees to be kept, but they may not be replaced when they die.

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