Letters to the Editor: A Times columnist hates jacarandas. These readers are having none of it

Blossoms from a jacaranda tree cover a corner of the Santa Anita Mall parking lot in 2020.
Blossoms from a jacaranda tree cover a corner of the Santa Anita Mall parking lot in 2020.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: There’s no denying columnist Gustavo Arellano’s writing prowess. His words are as vivid and vibrant as the purple jacaranda flowers he despises. But at what price? In the end, he has harnessed the mighty power of the pen to bully a tree.

Arellano complains about the notorious mess jacarandas leave. But, aside from the incredible environmental benefits of trees — and in this day and age of rapid desecration of nature, that’s a big deal — let’s not forget that many great things in life come with a struggle. So, I’ll take the jacarandas, their debris and all.

These days, with so much division and uncertainty, I grasp at the simple joys. Sometimes I like nothing better than reclining on the couch and gazing through the slats of the blinds at the lacy branches and their glorious infusion of purple. And for a time, however brief, all worries evaporate.


Unlike Arellano, I find jacaranda trimming a somber occasion, when I know I’ll have to wait at least two years for the tree’s majestic comeback. But when that time arrives, oh happy day.

Samantha Elin, Tarzana


To the editor: Arellano’s column on jacarandas so clearly portrays the communities where those trees were the one piece of natural beauty that adorned the streets.

In Echo Park, where I taught for almost 20 years in a pre-gentrified neighborhood struggling with poverty and gangs and inhabited by hardworking, mostly immigrant people, those streets were lined with natural jewels known as jacaranda trees.

I loved teaching my kindergarten children all about their community. We would walk up and down Sunset Boulevard and Montana and Lemoyne streets and look at the beautiful trees. Back at school we would paint the jacarandas using a sponge painting technique that made the purple paint look like small blossoms.

Then we’d hang the trees all over the classroom walls, floor to ceiling, so that we’d be surrounded by the jacaranda orchards of Echo Park.

Cheryl Ortega, Los Feliz


To the editor: Arellano’s column is just another reason that I love these trees so much — the visceral passion of the detractors.

Sorry, dude. Plenty of things are wonderful and messy: Popsicles. Baking cookies. Love.

While this season is almost over, I will look forward to next year’s season — between the tea roses and the bougainvillea and crepe myrtles.

Angel Zobel-Rodriguez, San Fernando


To the editor: After reading about Arellano’s disdain for jacarandas, I was left wondering, does he arrive at The Times in a big yellow taxi?

What a shame the purple leaves had to mess up the beautiful parking lot in one of the photos accompanying the article.

Tom Irish, Rancho Palos Verdes