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Northern Catalpa

Scientific Name:

Catalpa speciosa




Woodlands, forests, open areas, and other moist habitats


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


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


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.



Micah Beck (research, content, & photo)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

July 12, 2021 at 10:49:22 PM

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