NORTHERN CATALPA - CATALPA SPECIOSA

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
 

Common characteristics:

The northern catalpa is a large, upright tree capable of reaching 50' in height and 35' in width. Its bark is a gray-brown that becomes scaly with age. Leaves are simple and large, 6" to 10" long, and heart-shaped. Growing whorled or opposite along branches. In fall its color will become yellow-green to brown. Northern catalpa has large showy flowers that are upright and how in 4" to 8" clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers with orange stripes and purple spots and stripes. The fruit of the catalpa is a pod-like capsule, 8" to 20" inches long which is filled with winged seeds.

Where it grows:

Prefers alkaline soil and moist, well-drained soil. The catalpa will tolerate wet sites that experience occasional flooding as well as dry sites. It is also moderately tolerant of road salts. 

How it’s used:

Often used in the landscape as a shade tree or ornamental due to its flowers. A good choice for harsh urban conditions, it tolerates drought, poor drainage, and road salt fairly well. It is somewhat of a weak wooded tree and should be planted with caution; the branches can break off during storms. These trees make great landscape additions if pruned and cared for properly.​​

Ecosystem services:

The catalpa's large showy flowers are utilized by insect pollinators. 

Where it is native to:

Native from the lower Midwest into the southern states. It has a small native range in states southeast of Minnesota but is commonly found here now. Well suited for the urban landscape in Minnesota. 

Problems:

Susceptible to verticillium wilt, leaf spots, mildew, and twig blight. No serious insect or disease problems.  

References:

Missouri Botanical Garden. (Plant Finder) Found Online: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=277916&isprofile=1&basic=Catalpa%20speciosa

The Morton Arboretum. (Trees & Plants) Found Online: https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/northern-catalpa

northern catalpa form
catalpa-bark
northern catalpa foliage
northern catalpa scar
northern catalpa flower
northern catalpa fruit