Northern Catalpa
Catalpa speciosa
Family Bignoniaceae

* Leaves heart-shaped, long-stemmed, long-pointed, whorled or opposite, 6-13" long.
* Flowers tubular, white, spotted with yellow and purple, with notched lower petals, 1 3/8-2" long.
* Flowers bloom in showy clusters after leaves have developed. Each flower produces an 8-20" long, brown, seed capsule.
* Bark brown, deeply ridged. Branches stout, top of tree rounded.
* Height: 50-70'.

Natural History:
* Flowers May - June.
* Habitat: Wet forests, often planted elsewhere as an ornamental tree.
* Range: Southeastern United States.
* Not native; escaped from cultivation.

* Catalpa grows rapidly, but it is often infested with insects and damaged by storms and frost. The 'catawba worm' is a caterpillar that thrives on this tree and is popular for fish bait.

* Catalpa wood has been used in such varied places as fence posts, railroad ties, and railway sleeper cars. Other names for the tree include Catawba and Cigar-Tree.

* Northern catalpa was chosen as the class tree of Wellesley's class of 1886, and it is shown at right and located across from the Shakespeare Society House.

* The class tree of Wellesley's Class of 1886 is pictured at the right.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008