Catalpa speciosa Warder

Catalpa speciosa plant

Family - Bignoniaceae

Stems - Woody. A tree to 30m tall. Single trunk to 1m in diameter.

Leaves - Opposite or in whorls of 3, long petiolate, ovate, acuminate, entire, typically somewhat truncate at base or cordate, glabrous to sparsely pubescent above, pubescent below, to 30cm long, 20cm broad.

Inflorescence - Terminal panicles to 20cm high and broad.

Flowers - Tubular, to 6cm long, 4cm wide. Corolla white on outside, inside purple lined and spotted with some yellow spotting also, lower lobes without notches. Fruiting capsules to 60cm long, 1.5cm in diameter, terete. Seeds flat, to 4cm long, with a coma.

Catalpa speciosa flower

Catalpa speciosa flower

Catalpa speciosa calyxCalyx.

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Low woods, streambanks, also cultivated.

Origin - Native to small portion of midwest U.S. including southeastern Missouri, cultivated throughout the state.

Other info. - "speciosa" means "showy" and the trees certainly are when in bloom. The panicles of this species are fewer flowered and shorter than the closely related C. bignonioides, but the flowers are larger and appear more dense in bloom.

Photograph taken in Lebanon, TN., 5-16-03.