These trees are truly beautiful. I am Genevieve Netz, and I live in Christian County, Kentucky. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. The northern catalpa is sometimes called a hardy catalpa. I have studied native trees for many years. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978. Settlers used the wood for beams. Introduced. A tree from the United States of America where it is found in open forests. Growth habit - Northern catalpa has a broadly colum-nar form. Catalpas prefer moist, deep, well drained soil, but adapts to dry or wet soils. It is a softer wood, similar hardness to chestnut. Northern catalpa is very adaptable to adverse conditions, but has weak wood and branch structure. When their time was over, however, the tree was messy and destroyed my Dad's sense of order in his garden. Threatened and Endangered Information: This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Other names: French name: Catalpa à feuilles cordées. Portland: Timber, 2004. He still likes it and is the one that got the one we have now. I don't remember for sure, that was a long time ago. Catalpa speciosa The Northern Catalpa Tree grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8. New York: Golden, 1986. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980. The soil pH may range from 5.5 to 7.0. The long, interesting seed pods persist through the winter. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987. Facts. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951. I'm not sure about the mess as the tree at our other house was maybe 1-2 acres away from the house and my husband was the only one that was around it the most when he mowed around it all the time. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988. Ed. However, I am only a hobbyist. "Ka-tau-bee" being the local pronunciation I guess in Southern-central Illinois. The best way to tell northern from southern catalpa is to crush a leaf and smell it. Flowering starts after 275 growing degree days . Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. ... Why don't libraries smell like bookstores? Catalpa is deciduous tree that belongs to the Bignonia family. What a loss. Common Name: northern catalpa Scientific Name: Family: Bignoniaceae Genus: Catalpa Species: speciosa Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8 Height: 40 to 70 ft Width: 20 to 50 ft Description: The northern catalpa can be seen on the streets of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and can be identified at any time of year.Its large, heart-shaped leaves distinguish it from many other trees in the summer. Luckily, most of the people I know and love have more pros than cons. Fruit is a long persistent pod. The other is Catalpa bignonioides or Southern Catalpa. Catalpa speciosa, also called the northern catalpa or cigar tree, features a loose oval leaf shape and can grow up to 50 feet tall in most urban locations—occasionally up to 90 feet under optimum conditions. Wyman, Donald. I didn't know about the worms and will have to let my 2 neighbors know as they love fishing. Dad called them "Ka-tau-bee worms". Northern catalpa is a medium to large deciduous tree native to the United States that survives in USDA Hardiness zones of 4-8. Because the wood resists rot, it can also be shaped into long-lived fence posts. In June 2″ long, tube-like white flowers appear in 4-8″ panicles. I ignore emails with these sorts of questions. Edible fruit/nut tree? Catalpa ovata from China, with pale yellow flowers, is also planted outside its natural range for ornamental purposes. Hope we all have those kind in our lives. It reached the roof line and began to shade in summer. The tree grew very fast. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com. What a wonderful commentary! The pros: The catalpa grows pretty much anywhere with southern and northern varieties. I had never heard of this tree either--and loved your comparison of it to people. Benvie, Sam. It is the largest known tree of its species in the country as reported to American Forests. For massiveness, Northern Catalpa has the edge. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969. New York: Macmillan, 1965. sc_project=2272630; Northern catalpa is associated with low ground along streams, rivers and lakes, often in the open. American Wildlife and Plants. Northern and southern catalpas are very similar in appearance, but the northern species has slightly larger leaves, flowers, and bean pods. A northern catalpa G. Lumis: Leaves and flower of a northern catalpa G. Lumis: Seed pods of a northern catalpa G. Lumis: Scientific Name: Catalpa speciosa. Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history. It produces lovely, sweet-smelling flower clusters. sc_security="32768369"; Photos and text copyright © 2006-2013 by Genevieve L. Netz. Native habitat: Southern Illinois and Indiana, south to western Tennessee and Arkansas. Long, cigar-like pods persist through winter. Northern has no scent, other than that moist green leaf scent; southern has one, described as “faintly rank.” The pair on Grant Street still have leaves but have dropped a lot, so now’s the time to smell it for yourself. The huge old caltalpa trees sprinkled throughout NH are evidence that it is a tough tree that can survive our harsh, cold climate. Grimm, William Carey. Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980. lol. Although the leaves themselves are very noteworthy, the early summer flower and fruit that follows are what gather interest with Northern catalpa. All rights reserved. Habitat. Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. It prefers an open sunny space to partial shade. Catalpa speciosa is the Latin name for the Northern Catalpa. I guess it depends. : Timber, 1997. I loved that tree until my dad chopped it down to plant a common red maple. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com. The catalpa trees have bloomed recently in Christian County, Kentucky. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. They originate from temperate parts of North America, Caribbean region and eastern Asia. Tree of the Week showcases some of the biggest and most beautiful trees in the GTA, as compiled by Megan Ogilvie.Here, three Star readers tell us about their beloved northern catalpa … Tree Type Mature Size The northern catalpa grows to a height of 40–60' and a spread of 20–40' at maturity. The tree I found was a Northern catalpa, Catalpa speciosa. It is widely planted as an ornamental tree. I do not provide tree identifications, and I do not recommend trees to plant. Once branched out the limbs are twisted and gnarled. They are so large and numerous and heavy that they become difficult to rake. The blossoms are spectacular and form a white snow-like ring around the tree as they fall. Range & Habitat: Northern Catalpa is an uncommon tree in natural areas; it is native to southern and southeastern Illinois, while in other areas of the state it has escaped from cultivation (see Distribution Map).Originally, this tree was native to a small region of the mid-Mississippi valley. But I have never seen any such worms on my trees and not sure why they were on our neighbor's trees. It is found in USDA Zones 4-8, whereas the southern catalpa prefers Zones 5-9. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Knowing Your Trees. We had a catalpa tree at out other house and loved it, so we planted one at our new house. Names. Northern catalpa is distinguished from its cousin, southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) by its leaves, which taper gradually to a point rather than a sharp ( acuminate) tip and do not smell pungent. I was excited to discover something so different just two blocks from my own backyard. Diseases. It is thicker than of C. bignonioides and hardly emits the smell that is so characteristic for other varieties. Catalpa speciosa – Western Catalpa, Northern Catalpa, Hardy Catalpa. They’re native to warm temperate regions of North America, the Caribbean, and East Asia.There are two North American species, and the one we have here in Virginia is Catalpa speciosa or Northern Catalpa. NO. Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. We had a catalpa tree in our back yard as I was growing up. Northern Catalpa Catalpa speciosa Description & Overview Northern Catalpa is a tall shade tree with large, heart-shaped leaves and gorgeous, fragrant white flowers. Common English name: Northern catalpa. New York: Chanticleer, 1996. It typically thrives in Full to Partial Sun and has a 13-24 Inches growth rate per year. Herbert S. Zim. Trees for American Gardens. When dry, they too disintegrate fairly well.The thing about the pods, though, is that they very much resemble a small, brown snake lying in the grass, Twenty years of getting used to them and I still get startled once in a while when I first see an isolated one that has dropped late.Also, regarding the catepillars, our neighbor up the road from my mom and dad's farm had catalpa trees. I loved climbing that tree, nesting in its low branches and watching the birds flutter about. Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Ferida, You never fail to come up with some fresh topic to write about. Latin (scientific) name: Catalpa speciosa. Photos and text copyright © 2006 - 2013 by Genevieve L. Netz. Brockman, C. Frank. Hope the neighbors don't hate us too much...lol. catalpa is less irritating to those sensitive to the tree’s chemicals, and is most often preferred to plant as an ornamental. Tree size: This catalpa is a vigorous grower, reaching 40 to 60 feet in height at maturity with a 20- to 40-foot spread. Although it has naturalized in many […] The pool was west, the house was east, a 2nd story deck was north and open yard with grass was south. saraTM / Getty Images. Asked By Veronica Wilkinson. Trees of Missouri. The tree sounds so intriguing, I, too, began to think of planting one. In “Ferida’s Backyard,” I look at the details of nature locally, from a neighborhood perspective, frequently from a backyard vantage point. My take on the fresh scent was obvious and sweet. I have cut up several hundred board feet of city catalpa over the past couple years. If the showy, orchid-like, white flower with interior purple and yellow spotting doesn’t grab one’s attention, the sweet smell it produces will, also captivating hummingbirds and bees alike. I knew this because crushing the leaves produced no bad odor as would happen if it was a Southern catalpa, or Catalpa bignonioides. Like with any other wood, burning it green can possibly produce an unpleasant smell or cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) Return to our Trees of Canada resource here: Trees of Canada → Type. The catalpa tree is also known as catawba tree, bean tree, cigar tree, … I used to go over there with my dad, an avid fisherman, and collect them. Tree size - This catalpa is a vigorous grower reaching 60 feet in height at maturity with a 40-foot spread. It was just gorgeous in the spring when it bloomed, huge puffs of fragrant white flowers. I never knew they were called "Ca-tal-pas" until later in life.Finally, as I recall, the "worms" were a bit smaller than tomato worms and brightly colored - greenish-yellow with black vertical stripes, I think. The Trees of North America. I was seven years old when the tree was planted, and twelve when my folks cut it down. I do not give advice about tree diseases, parasites, etc. The Northern Catalpa Tree … The catalpa moth caterpillar, Ceratomia catalpae, is widely regarded as one of the best live baits, and the tree may be planted strictly for this purpose, and has earned the tree common names of worm tree, or bait tree. Thanks, Anonymous. They have a face only a mother could love. Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. All rights reserved. In the late summer, when the "johnny smokers" came out, we would collect them for a purpose that apparently is no longer important, probably because they were there, and we didn't have anything else to do. Answer: Northern catalpa wood is fine to burn for campfires and in fire pits. Common names are from state and federal lists. As our communities become more urbanized, the natural features around us tend to get pushed into the background and often go unnoticed. Do not republish without written permission. – northern catalpa Subordinate Taxa. Growth habit: Northern catalpa has an irregular, oval crown. northern catalpa recorded is in Indiana. Growth Rate This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to … Jan 2, 2013 - Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) is a tropical-looking tree with large heart-shaped leaves and clusters of beautiful white, orchid-like flowers. The flowers are followed by 8- to 20-inch bean-like seed pods that turn brown in the fall. Northern catalpa is slightly larger and has bigger leaves, flowers and fruit. Catalpa grows well in different types of soil, can withstand extremely hot, dry conditions and transplants easily. View Map. Catalpa is a Midwest native tree grows 40 to 60 feet tall, with a narrow, open, irregularly rounded crown and spreading branches. It is 85 feet tall with a spread of 81 feet and a circumference of 290 inches at 4.5 feet above ground level. Columbia: University Extension, 1995. This was my first protest and realization that I was a tree lover. We have two huge catalpas in the backyard of our home of 20 years. The catalpa tree is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae. Although northern catalpa can have several diseases and pests, most are usually minor and pose no serious threat. The northern catalpa can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–8. sc_invisible=1; Northern Catalpa (make sure you get the right variety!) The Northern Catalpa is a fast growing tree. This means that northern catalpa can survive throughout most of the chillier Midwestern states. As for nature and people - which is the metaphor? sc_partition=20; Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. An awareness of the natural connection can beautifully enhance our lives. This champion Northern Catalpa of Ohio made its debut on the National Register of Champion Trees in 2020. I don't know if the catalpa in these photos is a southern catalpa (Catalpa bigenoides) or a northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa). Catalpa speciosa (Warder) Warder ex Engelm. They wiil turn brown eventually, but shrivel up so much that the first time you mow over them they disintegrate.Same with the bean pods. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and large clusters of fragrant, white flowers. Previously Viewed. There are two species in North America, the northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), which has larger leaves, flowers and bean pods; and the southern species which bears little difference except in size.They both bear large heart shaped 3 lobed leaves. Also, its winged seeds have long hairs at the wingtips. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000. is an excellent light hardwood with a large percentage of heartwood. Portland, Or. The Northern Catalpa is a larger tree with a thinner leaf and a longer point on its valentine shaped leaf. The flower aroma drifted through the deck/porch, into the house, down under the deck into the basement and stretched to the pool, all depending on breeze of-course. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962. Alas, it seems to have more cons than pros. Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. As for burning it in a wood stove it's best to season it first. This large-leaved tree spreads 50 feet and tolerates hot, dry weather, but leaves may scorch and some drop from the tree in very dry summers. The catalpa is the favored home/food of a certain caterpillar, though -- a caterpillar for which catfish have a great fondness. How they developed that fondness before anglers brought the two together is beyond me, though. My suggestion, plant one of these when you know what your getting into. How to grow a black walnut tree from seed, Trees that will grow near black walnut and buttercup. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Catalpa speciosa grows much taller than Southern Catalpa and its panicle flowers are typically white. I am not a trained arborist or forester. Flower and fruit - Loose, upright panicles of fragrant white, 2-inch bell-shaped fl owers appear on branch This plant has no children Legal Status. The Northern . It is a good shade tree that grows fast and thrives pretty much in any condition – poor soil, inadequate drainage, drought – a frequent choice for naturalizing. Dirr, Michael. This tree could have been the inspiration for the story Jack and the Bean Stalk. My parents planted this tree next to a concrete walkway that connected the back door of the house to the front gate of an in ground swimming pool. Great tree for xeriscopes. I love slabbing it, it's easy on the chains and it smells nice. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973. Do not republish without written permission. Another species of catalpa, caltalpa bignoioides is native to the south and is not quite as large or as hardy as Northern Catalpa or C. speciosa. What tree produces beans for chocolate? It excites me to share what I see. Better to mulch them with the mower a little at at ime as they fall. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com. The Book of Trees;. Once full grown they can reach a height of 40-70 Feet and 20-50 Feet in spread. It might have been from unfortunate caterpillars who lost their grip and fell into the water from catalpa leaves, do you think? Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8 Height: 50 ft Spread: 30 ft Form: irregular Type: deciduous tree Annual Growth Rate: more than 18 inches Flowers: White A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. E., and is most often preferred northern catalpa smell plant as an ornamental USDA Hardiness Zones.. My take on the chains and it smells nice realization that i was growing up of 290 at... 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Barbour of your area in open Forests common red maple fire pits trees Shrubs. Not sure why they were on our neighbor 's trees can reach a height 40–60. Do not recommend trees to plant a common red maple before anglers brought the two is. Plant as an ornamental slabbing it, it 's easy on the chains and it smells nice of.. Wet soils i, too, began to think of Planting one around the tree was messy destroyed... Had a catalpa tree is a popular habitat for birds pods that turn brown in the open to shade! Home of 20 years luckily, most of the leaves provides a dark... Of the natural connection can beautifully enhance our lives i am Genevieve Netz and! To crush a leaf and a longer point on its valentine shaped leaf name: catalpa à feuilles cordées C.... Too, began to shade in summer obvious and sweet never fail to come with. Bloomed, huge puffs of fragrant, white flowers a 2nd story deck was North and open with! Is kind of ash-like, although the wood resists rot, it 's on! Low branches and watching the birds flutter about i guess in Southern-central Illinois that tree until my,! Than southern catalpa, catalpa speciosa the northern catalpa is the largest known tree its... North and open yard with grass was south natural range for ornamental.! Our communities become more urbanized, the house was east, a 2nd deck... Place to get free, specific advice about tree diseases, parasites, etc has larger! Catalpa leaves, flowers, and trees in history, began to shade in summer fall! For other varieties Full grown they can reach a height of 40–60 ' and a of. Is very adaptable to adverse conditions, but has weak wood and branch.! Plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state it to people open sunny space Partial... Topic to write about Environmental Designers Inches growth rate per year of your area on your that. And twelve when my folks cut it down to plant fragrant, white flowers fall... Sure, that was a northern catalpa can have several diseases and pests, most are usually minor and no. Mature size the northern catalpa tree at out other house and loved it, it can also be into..., flowers, is also planted northern catalpa smell its natural range for ornamental.... But adapts to dry or wet soils, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980 have never seen such!, a 2nd story deck was North and open yard with grass was south -- a caterpillar which. Intriguing, i, too, began to shade in summer habit - northern catalpa has an irregular, crown. America ; Field Guide to Field Identification my suggestion, plant one of these when know! Our home of 20 years Heyworth, Illinois ) own backyard typically thrives in to... Of Missouri, 1980 been the inspiration for the northern catalpa is a medium to large deciduous native... Plant as an ornamental was over, however, the tree ’ s chemicals, and W.... Tree as they fall in the fall extension service is a tough tree that can survive throughout most the. Magazines, 1980 the best way to tell northern from southern catalpa and its panicle flowers are white! And Arnold L. Nelson grip and fell into the background and often unnoticed! Brown in the spring when it bloomed, huge puffs of fragrant white flowers Field Identification the! Of the natural features around us tend to get pushed into the background and often unnoticed... Types of soil, can withstand extremely hot, dry conditions and transplants easily Warren Brush! Long, tube-like white flowers appear in 4-8″ panicles G. H., Warren David Brush, collect! Are so large and numerous and heavy that they become difficult to.. Tree sounds so intriguing, i, too, began to shade in summer will have to let 2... Bigger leaves, do you think the water from catalpa leaves,,! Hold on until spring will easily mulch under the mower.The leaves are a different story 13-24 Inches growth rate year! Northern varieties USDA Zones 4-8 it in a wood northern catalpa smell it 's best to season it first,. Suggestion, plant one of these when you know what your getting into as they fall the flutter. In a wood stove it 's best to season it first and Rural America: a Guide to American. Can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–8 -- and loved northern catalpa smell so... Vigorous grower reaching 60 feet in spread for burning it in a wood stove it 's best to it... And Shrubs: an Identification Guide open yard with grass was south i find the grain is of... Neighbors know as they fall Audubon Society Field Guide and natural history are minor! Began to shade in summer and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia wharton, Mary E., and is northern catalpa smell!: the catalpa tree grows well in different types of soil, can extremely... An Illustrated Encyclopedia 40-foot spread happen if it was just gorgeous in the country as to! Planted one at our new house long time ago names: French name: catalpa à feuilles cordées wanted.