Photograph courtesy of flickr/Paeonia*
Don’t listen to the cranks: Los Angeles has its fall colors, just not that many. But springtime is a different matter. That’s when jacarandas start to swagger, their indigo blossoms lighting up the streets. Southern California’s first jacarandas were planted in the early 1890s in San Diego’s Balboa Park. They spread their roots here soon after. “There is a fine specimen line of them on Columbia Street, at the side of Mrs. W.C. Stuart’s residence,” noted the Los Angeles Times in 1898. Of the 50 species that originate in South America, it is the mimosifolia, aka the blue jacaranda, which makes our April as glorious as cherry blossom season in Kyoto. But be warned: It’s not sap that makes the falling flowers sticky; it’s aphid excrement.