Catalpa bignonioides Walter
Catalpa bignonioides is a tree.
Catalpa bignonioides was described by Thomas Walter in 1788. The name is considered as validly published.
Catalpa bignonioides is a species in the genus Catalpa which contains approximately 11 to 18 species and belongs to the family of the Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-creeper Family). The type species of the genus is Bignonia catalpa.
The trees are comparatively fast-growing and long-lived. They reach heights of 12 to 15 metres and have a rounded to broadly spreading canopy The main growing season is in spring. The plants reach a width of 6 to 10 metres.
Wood and Bark
The bark is thick or longitudinally fissured and silver-grey.
Catalpa bignonioides is deciduous. The dark-green, simple leaves are opposite. They are ovate, entire and petiolate. The foliage is dense in summer and porous in winter and turns an attractive yellow in autumn.
Flowers and Fruits
Catalpa bignonioides produces panicles of showy, white campanulate flowers from April to July. The plants flower on last years shoots. They are hermaphroditic, pollination takes places by allogamy through animals.
In summer the trees produce ornamental green loculicidal capsules that are persistent on the plant.
The plants form shallow roots.
Catalpa bignonioides is native to the Southeast of the US and Florida.
The trees prefer a sunny situation on fresh to moist soil. They prefer sandy loam with a pH between 5,5 and 7,5. The plants need a soil depth of at least 91 centimetres for good growth. They tolerate temperatures down to -29Â°C (USDA zone 5) and need a frost-free period of at least 20 weeks.
Tolerance of special soil conditions
- none: soil salinity, anaerobic soil
- medium: drought, calcareous soil
- high: city climate
The ornamental value of Catalpa bignonioides lies especially in the ornamental leaves. The recommended planting distance is 2,5 metres. Suited as avenue tree, specimen plant, greenery along roads, bee pasture, bird pasture and as plant providing shelter for birds. From a commercial point of view the trees can be used to produce posts. The plants have moderate potential for fuelwood production.
Maintenance and Propagation
The plants usually require only a moderate amount of maintenance.
Propagate by sowing.
Pests and Diseases
- Walter Erhardt, Erich GÃ¶tz, Nils BÃ¶deker, Siegmund Seybold: Der groÃe Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
- Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.