PLANTED TREES OF HARARE
The Jacaranda mimosifolia is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, which is native to Brazil and surrounding countries. Jacaranda mimosifolia (Common name – Blue jacaranda) is the species known in Zimbabwe but they certainly don’t look like they have blue flowers – purple, lilac or mauve is more like it! But, there is also a variant of the Jacaranda mimosifolia which has white flowers.
October is the month when Harare Avenues and many suburbs have the Jacaranda trees at their flowering peak. These trees were planted mainly as street trees but there are a huge number of them planted in gardens as well. Jacarandas will flower for about six months of the year with the last flowers still to be seen in January.
According to various articles on the internet, the first jacaranda trees to be planted in Fort Salisbury, as it was known in those days, were brought in from the botanical gardens in Durban by a honeymooning couple who brought in six seedlings way back in 1899. The articles also state that the first tree was planted late in 1899 or early in 1900 and was seen flowering in 1908. However nothing is mentioned about what happened to the other five seedlings. The tree was planted in a garden at number 13 Cape Ave, which subsequently became Montague Avenue. Since then there has been a number and street name change – the property is now no: 23 Josiah Chinamano Avenue. In 1987 the old house was replaced by a building with flats appropriately named Jacaranda Mews. The tree collapsed in 1998 when it was almost 100 years old.
Now apart from the Blue Jacarandas, there is also a variant of the Jacaranda mimosifolia which has white flowers. The white jacaranda tree in all respects is exactly the same as the purple variety in terms of foliage, bark and pods. The difference, apart from the white flowers, is that it appears to be a bit smaller than any nearby jacarandas.
There are a few white jacaranda trees which can be seen from the road in Harare as listed below:
Alexandra Park: One street tree at No. 9, Bantry Road.
Avenues: One street tree at No. 155, Baines Ave. between Sixth and Seventh Streets.
Belvedere North: Two street trees, with one purple in-between them along Samora Machel opposite the Tel-One College. They are in front of properties Nos. 148 & 152, Samora Machel Ave.
Borrowdale: One street tree on Piers Road opposite Bon Marche in Sam Levy’s Village.
Borrowdale: One garden tree in No. 319, Gough Close.
Colne Valley: One garden tree in No.195, Enterprise Road opposite the Chisipite shopping centre.
Glen Lorne: Two small street trees at No. 16, Manyonga Close.
Harare Gardens: One tree behind Livingstone House.
Mount Pleasant: One street tree at No. 41, Coull Drive.
Valencedene: One small street tree at No. 13, Roy Road.
No doubt there are many more white jacarandas in Harare and elsewhere within Zimbabwe. If you know of the location of any white jacarandas which are visible from the road, apart from those listed above, kindly let us know.
Zimbabwe has an indigenous pink jacaranda, Stereospermum kunthianum, which also belongs to the family Bignoniaceae. Within Zimbabwe, their natural habitat is the Zambezi valley extending south to Harare and surrounds. Although the shape of their flowers sort of resemble the exotic species, their leaves, bark and pods are quite different. Exotic Jacarandas have large twice-pinnate leaves whilst the indigenous variety have medium sized once-pinnate leaves. Pink jacarandas are becoming popular as an ornamental garden tree and many have been planted in Harare.