BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — If it’s mid-May in Southern California, it must be Jacaranda season – Jacaranda being the South American import that came to the Los Angeles area in the 1920s and now, this time of year, it’s bursting all throughout California.

Jacaranda mimosifolia is the most common of the flowering plant’s 49 varieties. It’s an urban tree common in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay but also Florida, Mexico and South Africa as well as Los Angeles and Bakersfield. KGET found a dozen just in the Oleander and Westchester neighborhoods of Central Bakersfield.

It’s the kind of tree that blends in with the usual green foliage until April when these purple, blue or mauve blossoms take over.

Myrna Dipert has two Jacarandas in full bloom in front of her home on Oleander Avenue.

“I love them,” she said. “It’s like having a shower of purple blossoms in the spring. It’s amazing.”

Not everybody loves Jacarandas. When they drop their blooms they make a mess. Or a natural carpet of color – depends on your attitude.

“If you’re a neat freak you might want to sweep but it’s kind of magical to have a purple carpet,” Dipert said. “They’re just lacey and gorgeous.”

Freshly fallen blossoms snap when they’re stepped on, emitting a subtle fragrance. The trumpet-shaped blossoms can also be used as a dye – which should be evident to anyone who walks through a carpet of the purple flowers on a freshly watered sidewalk.

“It kinda has a little dye when you walk on it,” Dipert said. “You know, it’ll kind of stain your sidewalk for a little bit but it’s not a problem.”

You can be excused if you’re like the guy who walked past Dipert with his dog and his skateboard and admitted he’d never really noticed the neighborhood’s Jacaranda trees.

“I never heard of it,” he said. 

“Well, now you know,” Dipert answered. “When you see the purple trees, there they are.”

The blossoms will all be gone in a month or so. But take heart. Jacarandas bloom twice each year. Like migrating birds they’ll be back in the fall.