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Jacarandas: Friend or Foe?

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Photo by sauvagenoble via Flickr

It's May, which in Southern California means the onset of jacaranda season -- that magical time of year when trees across the city erupt into purple splendor. It's a romantic sight, to be sure, and one of those oft-overlooked reasons why living in L.A. can be so very beautiful sometimes. Anybody who's walked through the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden on a sunny spring morning knows the feeling of pure aesthetic bliss as you take in a lavender-carpeted vista of long-limbed, fragrant trees.

But as today's LA Times points out, those flowers you see gently falling to the ground do have a sticky side:

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...if smashed, the liquid inside the pods emits a sticky substance -- aphid waste in the bloom, not sap -- which can cause slippery pavement. Bug remover can usually get rid of stickiness once the sun bakes it onto cars, sidewalks or even the soles of shoes, [horticulturist David] Lofgren said. The juicy flower has made the jacaranda controversial at times. In 2004, Garden Grove officials put restrictions on planting them near a planned senior citizens' housing development, saying the blossoms cause conditions that could endanger elderly residents.

As much as I love those trees, I've had a few spills myself on those slippery leaves. But is it enough of a nuisance to restrict planting them? Or do you welcome the sight of these beautiful blossoms every year, as they usher in another long, hot summer in L.A.?