Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Jacarandas, Mustard Plants, and Locust Trees
Blue-Blossoming Jacaranda Trees have already produced a first wave of color along the streets of San Diego. By early or mid-May, warm weather permitting, this Brazilian import could put on a dazzling show. The larger jacarandas, which in full bloom are leafless, or nearly so, display myriads of delicate, trumpet-shaped blossoms -- a lavender haze as seen from afar. Jacarandas are commonly used as landscaping in parks and on most college campuses. Nice rows of jacarandas grace Ash Street downtown, Rosecrans Boulevard in Point Loma, 25th Street in Golden Hill, and Mission Village Drive above Qualcomm Stadium.
Mustard, a nonnative plant more like a weed than a wildflower, is blooming profusely on grassy slopes all along the coastline of San Diego County. An old story, probably apocryphal, tells of the padres scattering mustard seed along the El Camino Real so that the bright, yellow mustard blossoms would help them find their way in future spring seasons. More likely, the plant was introduced to western North America in the form of seeds carried in the hay used to feed livestock brought in by the early settlers.
The Tall Locust Trees planted years ago along Julian's narrow streets are once again brightening this backcountry (and former gold-rush) town with blossoms of white, pink, and lavender. Introduced into the West by 19th-century emigrants, locust trees have become almost a trademark of California's gold country, from the Mother Lode south to Julian.