Scientific name: Catalpa speciosa
Northern catalpa (also known as Northern catawba) is a medium-large sized, moderately fast-growing, deciduous tree. It typically grows in full sun and reaches 40-70 ft tall and 20-50 ft wide. The name Catalpa originates from the word “kutuhlpa,” the Muscogee Native American tribe’s name for the tree. This tree is native to North America and has a rounded crown with spreading branches. The large, heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in fall. Its bark is dark brown, light gray, or burgundy with ridges and shallow fissures. The beautiful showy orchid-like flowers are multi-colored (white, purple, orange) and bloom in late spring or early summer. The fruits are long, showy, green seed pods that resemble beans, which is why this tree is sometimes called the Cigartree or Indian-bean. It is a great tree for rain gardens, parks, or residential areas as a shade tree. Though it thrives in fertile loamy soil, it tolerates drought conditions and heavy clay soil. It resists browsing by deer and tolerates air pollution. It grows in plant hardiness zones 4-8.