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Blue-Blossoming Jacarandas (the City of San Diego's official "street tree") have already produced a first wave of color all over the region. 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.

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.

Bracken Ferns are rising on the higher mountains of San Diego County, their bright green, unfolding fronds (called "fiddleheads") pushing up through the russet remains of last year's growth. Look for waist-high bracken fern along the creeks and hollows of the Palomar, Cuyamaca, and Laguna mountains.

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