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Northern (Western) Catalpa   arrow

Catalpa speciosa (ka-tall’-pa spee-see-o’-sa)
Family: Bignoniaceae, Trumpet Creeper

Key Steps


Catalpa leafLeaf: Very large, heart-shaped, 6-12 inches long; smooth (entire) margin; long tapering tip. Three (sometimes two) leaves attached at the same point on the stem. Medium green, dull texture; petiole 4-6 inches long.

Bud: Small, embedded in bark most of the year. True terminal (end) bud absent. Six+ loose, pointed, brown scales.

Leaf Scar: Large, raised, round. 12+ raised bundle scars from a closed circle within the scar. Two or three leaf scars encircle the stem at the same node.

Stem: Stout, large lenticles, gray-brown.

Bark: Dark brown; irregular, shallow ridges.

Catalpa seedpodPith: Solid, white.

Flower: Large, showy white panicles of orchid-like blossoms in May or June. Usually marked with purple.

Fruit: Long (8-20 inches) straight, brown capsule, shaped like a cigar; persistent through winter. Seeds within the capsule are 1 inch long, 1/4 inch wide, flat, tannish-white, fringed at both ends.

Habit: Usually straight trunk, oval form; irregular, sparse branches. 50 feet tall by 25 feet spread. Slow grower.

Culture: Hardier for lower elevations (under 6,000 feet); moderate moisture requirement.