Northern Catalpa

Scientific Name:

Catalpa speciosa

Type:

Tree

Habitat:

Woodlands, forests, open areas, and other moist habitats

Range:

Native to the central United States between Arkansas and Illinois; naturalized around the country

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NON-NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Northern catalpas are fast growing, large trees that can reach up to 60 feet in height. Their leaves are heart-shaped, with autumn colors of yellow-green to brown. These trees are distinguished for their fragrant white clusters of flowers which bloom in June and July as well as their long, bean-like seed pods.

Fast Facts:

  • The flowers of northern catalpas are great for insect pollinators. The white, bell-shaped flowers grow in four to eight inch clusters (panicles) and have orange and purple spots or stripes. The seed pods can be 8 to 20 inches long; both the seed pods and flowers can be messy when they fall, and branches are brittle and will break off in high winds/storms.

  • Catalpas are very tolerant to drought, sun, and heat, but can be sensitive to wind. If exposed to too much wind, the leaves can tatter.

  • Catalpas are not disease prone and do not require protection.

  • Northern catalpas are also called cigar-trees and hardy catalpas.

  • Catalpas are a low fire hazard.

  • Northern catalpas are regularly cultivated and planted in urban areas, including here in the Truckee Meadows.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Micah Beck (research, content, & photo)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

July 12, 2021, 10:49:22 PM