DIY Upcountry Maui Jacaranda Tour

Purple is an exotic color at the far end of our visible spectrum and often associated with royalty. The hue is relatively rare in nature. So when miles of trees on a scenic highway in Upcountry Maui burst out with a full canopy of brilliant purple in the late spring each year, it is always a glorious spectacle. If you are lucky enough to be visiting this month, a drive to see these vibrant beauties is worth the trip. Plus, there are stunning birds-eye coastal views along the way.

Jacaranda are a fast-growing tree appreciated by many landscape designers and homeowners for their quick growth rate, allowing it to cover a yard with cooling shade faster than many other flowering trees. Originating from Brazil, these trees grow well in warmer climates, making them a perfect choice Hawaii.

Jacarandas don’t just look pretty. They are also a source of glutamic acid, an ingredient that is used in the treatment of epilepsy, can also boost collagen, and provide nectar for honey bees. Seeds and leaves were once uses to treat bacterial infections, and as an alternative to penicillin. There is also quite a bit of ancient folk-lore attached to Jacaranda, representing a symbol of wisdom and learning. In the US, some believe fortune will follow those who have a jacaranda bloom fall on their head.

We have a former Mayor to thank, Elmer F. Cravalho, for the beautiful purple blooms on Maui’s sweeping slopes. Jacaranda are thought to have been brought to the island by paniolo (cowboy) relatives from Brazil. As Jacaranda are traditionally planted around places of learning, the purple blooms at tiny Keokea elementary school near where Cravalho grew up, caught his attention.

During the late 1950s, Cravalho persuaded the Territorial Highway Commission to plant jacarandas along the highways of Kula and Pukalani. Today, the amethyst-shaded blooms continue to thrive in upcountry’s cooler climate, but the trees can also do well all the way down to lower Haiku on the North Shore.

If you are planning a trip to Haleakala Crater this month, you can also take a Jacaranda loop tour.

From South or West Maui, navigate toward Haleakala Crater, up State Highway 37. Turn off on Highway 377, then 378 to travel to the Crater. After your Crater visit, travel back down 378, then turn left on 377 to continue the loop, until it rejoins highway 37. From here it is suggested you turn left again, and enjoy the scenic drive to Ulupalakua Ranch, also home to Maui Wine. Even if those that don’t embibe in the tasting room will enjoy the winery’s beautiful grounds, historic structures, a small museum and a ranch store across the street, serving delicious lunch paniolo style.

The tour from the start of the loop, not including stops, will take about 2.5 hours.

Stop and take in the wonder of Maui’s magnificent purple Jacaranda trees, and the history and benefits they represent. Look for specials on where to stay on Maui with Destination Maui Vacations, to have a beach condo base of operations for all your adventures.

2023-05-25T00:47:17+00:00May 31st, 2023|Culture, Entertainment, Environment, Uncategorized|

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