Jacarandas in CDMX: A Japanese Immigrant’s Footsteps in Mexico

Matsumoto eventually became a wealthy businessman who served many Mexican presidents: from the Francophile Porfirio Díaz to the revolutionary Alvaro Obregon and the nationalist Lázaro Cárdenas. In his flower shop, which opened in 1898, Matsumoto offered spectacular flower arrangements to high society and created bouquets for the stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

In recent years, Matsumoto’s talent with flowers has made him a local popular culture icon, a silent hero: the gardener who brought jacarandas to Mexico. But Hernandez, who has extensively documented Matsumoto’s career, points out that it was much more than that.

Instead of introducing jacarandas to Mexico — some were already growing in the wild — he would cultivate them. Not only did he suggest the tree best suited to the capital’s climate: he gave its streets an aesthetic vision that reappears each spring.

“Matsumoto is a natural salesman,” Hernandez said.

In a city with old trees and winding sidewalks, jacarandas make good tenants: their roots grow downward rather than sideways, largely untouched by urban infrastructure. But because they grow so tall (they can reach up to 24 meters), they can be an enemy of power lines and a target for power company tree trimmers.

In recent years, jacarandas have also attracted detractors: “Controversy blooms over jacarandas,” An article this month said Citing experts who have warned that exotic species can create imbalances in local ecosystems.

“They are very Advertised”, that is, civilized, said Francisco Arjona, 34, a practicing environmental engineer. A tour to admire the trees From Mexico City. Arjona could list parks, intersections and parking lots, but reminds visitors that the capital is home to many beautiful native trees.

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Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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