SANTA BARBARA, CA – An arboreal hissy-fit is roiling Santa Barbara’s mediterranean milieu. At issue is the growing Jacaranda tree population. The vibrantly flowering trees of the family Bignoniaceae can be found all over Santa Barbara come the first stirrings of Spring, their lush violet flowers turning every neighborhood and thoroughfare into a striking seasonal statement.
And that is the problem, say the merely green trees of Santa Barbara.
“When exactly did ‘verdant’ fall out of fashion?” a churlish Italian Stone Pine asks rhetorically. The pine is one of dozens planted along both sides of east Anapamu Street about 100 years ago, a group of historic and once-loved trees which today form a not-terribly-exciting arbor over the Anapamu thruway near the Milpas exchange. “Hey, Jacaranda. This used to be a classy little burg where we all got along,” says the under-appreciated, drought-and-beetle besieged pine. “Your trashy purple party dress isn’t wanted here. Purple is for LOSERS who can’t cut a majestic figure with mere chlorophyll and charmingly gnarled branches alone. Take it back to the Bahamas, birch!”
The enormous Morton Bay Fig adjacent to Santa Barbara’s Train Station—the largest Moreton Bay Fig tree in the contiguous United States—concurs. “Santa Barbara was once a garden, a floral paradise where all Families and Orders got along. We worked and lived together to make this city a paradise on Earth. Then this shouting purple strumpet comes along and sullies the place. It’s shameful. Go back where you came from.”
The Jacarandas are unmoved by the popular tree sentiment. “Oh, go back to AUSTRALIA? Oh wait, hang on. That’s where YOU come from, Mort. We’re ALL imports, saphole. Oh! Lil’ Mr. Moreton and his lollapalooza root system,” the sassy violet bipinnate continues, proffering her controversial panicles. “Like most of these trees, you take away his girth and whaddaya got? I’ll tell you what. A freaking Fig Tree. Hoo boy, that sounds plenty majestic. I hear ‘fig’ and I think ‘a cookie that kids hate‘.”
At press time Santa Barbara’s other trees were preparing to form an angry mob and run the Jacarandas out of town, but couldn’t because they are all rooted to the ground.
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