Blue Jacaranda Christmas Down Under

Blue Jacaranda and Bougainvillea make a colourful combination in Corfu Town
© Karen Netto (Andrews)

Christmas is traditionally a time when we send seasonal greetings to friends and family who live far away. At this time of year, Australian Facebook friends speak of sunshine and barbecues on the beach. Meanwhile, we huddle indoors hiding from the dark nights, winds, rain, frost, ice and sometimes even snow. The Blue Jacaranda has become associated with Christmas in Australia even though it is not native species.

My own photos of its stunning flowers were taken in against an azure sky and the brilliant colours of Bougainvillea in Corfu Town in early June 2017. It is good to look back at holiday snaps of warmer climes at this time of year, isn’t it?

Bignoniaceae

Blue Jacaranda, Jacaranda mimosifolia, is a member of the Bignoniaceae or Trumpetvine family. Bignoniaceae and the genus Bignonia are named after the French priest Abbé Jean-Paul Bignon (1662-1743). He was a statesman and librarian for King Louis XIV of France. He owes this commemoration to his pupil, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708), who is the French botanist accredited with the first clear definition of a plant genus.

Blue Jacaranda

Blue Jacaranda may be native to South America, but it has spread into cultivation across the world. It is listed on the IUCN Red list as a vulnerable species. The trees are especially popular in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia where the ground gets covered in the purple rain of its flowers.

Austrialian Song

The Jacaranda’s popularity has even entered Australian Christmas folklore in a song:

Christmas where the gum trees grow

(Val Donlon / Lesley Sabogal) (poem)

(Source: International Lyrics Playground)

Christmas where the gum trees grow
There is no frost and there is no snow 
Christmas in Australia's hot 
Cold and frosty is what it's not 
When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here 
Christmas time is near 
From England came our Christmas fare 
They even said what Santa should wear 
But here down under for summer's cool 
Santa should dip in a swimming pool 
Christmas where the gum trees grow 
There is no frost and there is no snow 
Christmas in Australia's hot
Cold and frosty is what it's not
When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here 
Christmas time is near 
Santa rides in a sleigh on snow 
But down here where the gum trees grow 
Santa should wear some water skis 
And glide around Australia with ease 
Christmas where the gum trees grow 
There is no frost and there is no snow 
Christmas in Australia's hot 
Cold and frosty is what it's not 
When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here 
Christmas time is near 
To ride around the bush where it's dry 
To cart all the presents piled so high 
A red-nosed reindeer would never do 
Santa should jump on a kangaroo 
Christmas where the gum trees grow 
There is no frost and there is no snow 
Christmas in Australia's hot 
Cold and frosty is what it's not 
When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here 
Christmas time is near 

Australian YouTube Links

The Jacaranda Trees are Blooming

Christmas Where The Gum Trees Grow

Greg Doolan

Loosely Women

© Karen Netto (Andrews)

References and Further Reading

Christenhusz, Maarten J. M. & Fay, Michael F. & Chase, Mark W. (2017): Plants of the World. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Vascular Plants. Kew. Chicago.

Eloise (?) (2017): Where to see Jacaranda Trees in Brisbane: the best places revealed. Myfavouriteescapes.com. 22 October 2017. Last accessed 12 December 2019.

Encyclopedia Britannica (2019): Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. Last accessed 12 December 2019.

Prado, D. (1998): Jacaranda mimosifolia The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1998: e.T32027A9675619. Last accessed 12 December 2019.

Simpson, Michael G. (2010): Plant Systematics. Second Edition. Academic Press. Elsevier. Burlington. MA. U.S.A.

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