458 N. Perkins Rd.

Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

Catalpa bignonioides is a species of Catalpa that is native to the southeastern United States. Common names include southern catalpa, cigar tree, and Indian bean tree. Catalpa is a medium to large, deciduous tree with an irregular, open-rounded to narrow-oval crown. Leaves are ovate to ovate-oblong leaves (to 12 inches long) are pointed at the tips and rounded to cordate at the bases. Leaves are light green to yellow green. Flowers can be a real showstopper with bell-shaped, orchid-like white flowers (to 2 inches long) with purple and yellow inner spotting appear in panicles in late spring (late May to early June). Flowers give way to long slender green seedpods (12-22 inches long). The seedpods mature in fall to dark brown and then split open lengthwise to release the seeds within. Seedpods give rise to the common name of cigar tree, although they actually are longer and thinner than most cigars. Abundant pods are produced every 2 to 3 years. Bark of mature trees is fissured, prominently ridged and pale gray-brown.

The name derives from the Muscogee name for the tree, “Kutuhlpa” meaning “winged head.”    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *