Mexico City is at its best when Jacarandas paint the city purple. Here are the theories behind the origin of the city's colorful tree and those places you cannot miss.
It's that time of the year again in Mexico City, when all of the jacaranda trees planted around the city start flowering. It's a beautiful spectacle to witness and chilangos, as Mexico City people are called, are thrilled every time you look up to the pink or purple clouds made out by the crown of the trees. As time passes by, the hues of purple and pink become a reflection of the sky on the sidewalks, as leaves begin to fall off as spring arrives. Jacaranda though is not actually native to Mexico. It's a plant that comes from Brazil, where it is called Yacarandá. However, there is no record of Jacarandas ever coming to Mexico, so how did they get there in the first place?
One version says that a Mexican president requested cherry trees from Japan, (like those Washington DC got as a gift in 1912) but upon considering the contrasting climates of Tokyo and Mexico, Japan decided to gift Mexico with Jacarandas, mucho more accustomed to a Mexico City-like weather.
Another version says jacarandas appeared in Mexico when a Japanese immigrant gardener decided to plant private gardens with a tree that resembled cherry blossoms.
Further reading: 5 Great Movies About Mexico City That Aren't Roma
Then, again, a third version says that an important ecologist called Miguel Ángel de Quevedo, who is credited with creating many city parks in Mexico City, was someone who brought many plant species to Mexico. Upon gazing jacarandas, not for its beauty, but for its wood and considering it appropriate to defend the city against the winds, he decided to take it to Mexico City. So he used the trees to embellish the streets, at first planting it over Insurgentes Avenue and later on over Paseo de la Reforma, two of the most important streets in the City. Over time, the tree grew in popularity and it was soon all over the place.
So, if you happen to visit Mexico City and you're looking for the best spots to gaze at jacarandas, I would definitely recommend these places:
At the heart of Condesa, one of Mexico City's trendiest neighborhoods, lies a beautiful park with ponds and walkways known by Mexicans as Parque México. Aside from the jacarandas, its a great place to get some quiet time, soak up some of the city’s vibrant energy, or get to know some people and a dog or two, as well.
CU, as locals know it, is the University of Mexico's main campus. If you're willing to visit places that are off the beaten path, you should visit the university's main campus which lies at one of the southern ends of the city. While this is one of Mexico's most important institutions, the campus features beautiful avant-garde buildings and green areas. It's a must-see in Mexico City, even when it's not jacaranda season, but when it is, you cannot miss it at all.
You will also like: 8 Astonishing Places In Mexico City You Need To Visit If You Love Books
La Alameda Central
Created in 1952, the Alameda Central is not only Mexico City's first park ever, but the first public park in the history of Latin America. It's right next to downtown and features fountains, monuments, and plenty of jacarandas, not to mention all the festivals and cultural activities that take place during spring and summer.
Jacaranda trees are spread out across the whole city. So when you find yourself in Mexico City, don't forget to admire the soft purple hues that gently fall on the busy sidewalks. So take out your camera and snap away!
Cover photo: @_edgarolguin
Write for us!
Do you have an idea for an article about places to visit? Click on this link and learn how to become a writer for Cultura Colectiva Plus!