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The Rare and Elusive Mardi Gras Bead Tree

While living in Florida, I’d heard stories of the elusive and rare Mardi Gras Bead Tree that grew in the wilds of Louisiana. Never did I think I’d be lucky enough to see this urban legend with my own eyes.

Ah but today was my lucky day. Gibbs and I were driving down beautiful South Carrollton Avenue when I saw something twinkle in the sunlight. Surely, I thought, that can’t be what I thought it was. So turn around we did. As we slowly drove down the block I saw that, yes, the Mardi Gras Bead Tree does exist!

After discovering the first one, others became more apparent. These trees can be both evergreen and deciduous, which is highly unusual in the plant kingdom. The evergreen ones aren’t quite as showy as their brilliant colors are hidden amongst the leaves. But if you look close, you can see the shininess of its beads.

The Mardi Gras Bead Trees’ beauty really comes to light in the deciduous trees. With no leaves to hide in, the colors and shapes are shown in all their glory. With even the slightest hint of a breeze, the beads twinkle and shine even more in the sunlight. Ah, what glory it is to behold.

Mardi Gras bead tree

The Mardi Gras Bead Tree is found only in Louisiana, with the highest concentration of trees seeming to be in New Orleans.

The one thing that mystifies scientists is how the Mardi Gras Bead Trees evolved to be Mardi Gras Bead Fences and Mardi Gras Bead Power Lines. Is there some ulterior motive at force that we don’t know about? Are they trying to take over the world with their brightness and shininess?  Or maybe, just maybe, all they want is to share the love.

Happy digging in the dirt  …

Jeanni and Gibbs

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