Jacarandosos puts the days of Mexico City the jacaranda. Its flowers that dress the tree, and that when falling leave a captivating carpet of petals around it, brighten the eyes.
In Guaraní it is called jacarandá, which means fragrant, and monkey applause (ka-í jepopeté); its woody, castanet-shaped fruit contains winged seeds.
In spring, little bell-shaped flowers of striking bluish lilac paint the streets and parks of Mexico in that color, where it arrived in the early 1930s.
It was the Japanese gardener Tatsugoro Matsumoto who, wanting to plant cherry trees in Mexico, planted jacarandas, because they did not adapt to the climate of our country.
According to the book Trees and urban green areas, by the biologist Lorena Martínez González, the jacaranda is native to dry regions of South America; fast growing in its first years of development, it measures 6 to 10 meters in height and lives between 40 and 50 years.
Colorful and scented, says Marcelo Rodrigo Pace, from the UNAM Biology Institute, jacarandas need little space and normal care. Its roots are not aggressive, and despite becoming very tall trees, they filter the light. In addition, its wood is of high quality: due to its cream and pink tones, it is highly appreciated in the manufacture of furniture.
It requires little water and does not need fertilizers. Its best flowering occurs in poor soils, Martínez González points out in his book, published by the Xochitla Ecological Park.
It is highly resistant to pests and pollution (ten jacaranda trees can absorb the CO2 emitted by 1,400 cars a day).
“The jacaranda has other graces,” adds Ángeles González Gamio (La Jornada, April 3, 2011). “Its dry leaves are used in the manufacture of an ointment that is used to heal wounds. The infusion of the bark is very good for washing ulcers. And together, leaves and bark, help in the treatment of syphilis and gonorrhea”.
Jacarandas also cover the central campus of Ciudad Universitaria. In the Faculty of Psychology, Alcira Soust Scaffo planted a jacaranda, as alive today as the memory of this Uruguayan poet (La Jornada, June 26, 2017).
Ernesto Alvarado, a graduate of the Faculty of Psychology, recalls that “on the occasion of one more year of the commemoration of the massacre of October 2 in Tlatelolco, Alcira had the beautiful idea of giving us a small jacaranda so that we could plant it in one of the gardens of the Faculty of Psychology, with the tender message that it would be a symbol of brotherhood of our two schools (Psychology and Philosophy), since the first was part of one of the colleges of the second, and in the 70s acquired faculty status.
“In plastic bags we carry dirt from the garden of the library of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, at the foot of the bust of Dante Alighieri; we walked between puddles of water the 300 or 400 meters that separate it from the Faculty of Psychology, and after making several holes that ran into pipes, we finally found where to plant it, we fertilized it with his poems written on revolution paper and on bond sheets, so that it would be well nourished and grow beautiful.”
Today, the Alcira jacaranda looks enormous in front of the library of the Faculty of Psychology, like others that embellish other CU spaces.
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