Northern Catalpa

Northern Catalpa


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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Catalpa speciosa

Family: Bignoniaceae

This tree in Colorado: A fairly large tree native to most of the central U.S. Catalpa has an upright, coarse and distinct form. It's asymmetrical, irregular appearance gives it a lot of character and can be planted as a feature tree. The large, white, showy flowers provide the landscape with splash of interest during late May and June. It is a tree that should be considered more in the landscape but realize it has seed pods that can be messy. Stems are brittle allowing breakage during early or late snow storms.

Hardiness: Zones 4 to 8. Adapts well to a variety of climates and soils.

Growth rate: Medium to fast once established. Terminal shoot can be 3' per year.

Foliage: Large, simple; Opposite or whorled; Margins are entire; heart shaped; 8" to 12" long; 5" to 8" wide; long petioles.

Buds: Terminal absent; lateral buds small, hemispherical. Located above a large oval leaf, bundle scar.

Bark: Brown; ridged and furrowed on older trees.

Insects and diseases: Little to none. Mildew and leaf spots may occur.

Landscape value: Plant them as accent trees in yards and parks. In areas with wide parkways, they can be planted as street trees. Prune for strong branches since the wood is brittle. Branches can not support a lot of snow.

Information sources: Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)Michael Kuhns, Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West (Utah State University Press, 1998)