Catalpa Tree Types: List of Different Types of Catalpa Tree
Northern Catalpa Tree, Catalpa speciosa
Southern Catalpa Tree, Catalpa bigniodes
Catalpa Tree Trivia
The caterpillars that feed on Catalpa trees are prized fish bait due to its tough skin and juicy contents. They can be frozen for use at a later date!
Catalpa Tree, Facts and Information on Catalpa Trees
Here is some detailed information on the catalpa tree.
Catalpa, commonly called Catawba, is a genus of flowering plants in the trumpet vine family, Bignoniaceae, native to warm temperate regions of North America, the Caribbean, and east Asia.
Catalpas are mostly deciduous trees that typically grow to 12 to 18 metres (39 to 59 ft) tall and 6 to 12 metres (20 to 39 ft) wide. A 10 year old sapling will stand about 6 metres (20 ft) tall. They can be recognized by their large heart-shaped to three-lobed leaves, showy white or yellow flowers in broad panicles, and in the autumn by their 20 to 50 centimetres (7.9 to 20 in) long fruits which resemble a slender bean pod, containing numerous small flat seeds, each seed having two thin wings to aid wind dispersal. Because of the leaves, they are sometimes confused with the Tung tree (Vernicia fordii) in the southern U.S.
Due to their large leaf size, Catalpas provide very dark shade and are a popular habitat for many birds, providing them good shelter from rain and wind. These trees have very little limb droppage, but drop large, dark brown bean pods during late summer. The wood of catalpas is quite soft.
The two North American species, Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides), and Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) have been widely planted outside their natural ranges as ornamental trees for their showy flowers and attractive shape, or growing habit. Northern and Southern Catalpa are very similar in appearance, but the northern species has slightly larger leaves, flowers, and bean pods. Flowering starts after 275 growing degree days. The Yellow Catalpa (Catalpa ovata) from China, with pale yellow flowers, is also planted outside its natural range for ornamental purposes.
The bean-like seed pod is the origin of the alternative vernacular names Indian Bean Tree and Cigar Tree for Catalpa bignonioides and Catalpa speciosa.
The tree is the sole source of food for the Catalpa Sphinx moth (Ceratomia catalpae), the leaves being eaten by the caterpillars. When caterpillars are numerous, infested trees may be completely defoliated. Defoliated catalpas produce new leaves readily, but with multiple generations occurring, new foliage may be consumed by subsequent broods.
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