Catalpa, Northern

Catalpa speciosa
A medium size to large tree up to 90’ tall and with a trunk diameter to 2½’. The gray bark becomes furrowed and scaly with age. The large, up to 12”x 8” long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves are opposite or whorled at the ends of stout twigs. The tip is pointed, the underside soft-hairy. The showy 2” flowers are in stalked, branched, upright clusters. The short corolla tube is 2-lipped and with 5 unequal lobes. The lobe margins are fringed. The white flowers are marked with orange and purplish spots and lines. The fruit is a long, 12-18”, narrow, cylindrical dangling capsule that splits into 2 parts, releasing many flat, light brown, winged and tufted seeds. Flowers May, June, often with last year’s brown fruit still in place; fruits in autumn. Prefers moist places.

The large leaves and showy flowers are characteristic of the magnolias, and the long bean-like fruit identifies this species.