• University of Sydney's jacaranda tree. Photo credit: The University of SydneyUniversity of Sydney's jacaranda tree. Photo credit: The University of Sydney

University’s famous Jacaranda tree is sadly no more

The jacaranda tree that stood in the University of Sydney’s main quadrangle for 88 years, sadly collapsed over the weekend having reached the end of it’s natural life.

Many university myths are associated with the tree and generations of students have been told that would fail their exams if they neglected to study before the tree's first bloom - typically in October or November.  Similar myths can be heard at universities up and down the east coast of Australia, as the bright purple blooms last for about two months leading up to exam time in the Southern Hemisphere.

The tree was planted in the quadrangle in 1928, although it took some time for the sapling to take – they kept mysteriously disappearing. It wasn’t until many years later at a retirement dinner that some members of university staff admitted to taking the seedlings home with them.

The tree that survived became a key feature of the quadrangle and has appeared as the backdrop to countless numbers of graduation and wedding photographs, as well as some of the University’s publicity photos that we use in our publication The Guide.

Jacaranda trees are not native to Australia and the particular species Jacaranda mimosifolia that is found throughout the country originated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of South America. They can live for over 100 years under the right conditions, but in this case the University of Sydney was advised that their tree might be nearing the end of its life in 2014 so some cuttings were taken, and two seedling clones were produced, so before too long a new jacaranda could be letting the students know when to start studying for their final exams.

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