Northern Catalpa (Western Catalpa)

Catalpa speciosa

Leaves: Deciduous. Heart-shaped leaves vary from 6-12” long and 3-8” wide. Smooth leaf edge. Medium to bright green color. Fall color is insignificant, leaves sometimes drop while still green.

Bark/Twigs: Grayish brown bark with furrows, sometimes thick and scaly looking.

Flowers/Fruit: Trumpet orchid-like flowers grow together in beautiful conical clusters 4-8” long. Individual flowers are white with yellow and pink-purple speckles inside and 2” long. Blooms late spring to early summer (late May-June). 8-20” long brown, fruit capsules look like a giant vanilla bean and persist on the tree through the winter.

Mature size and shape: Large. 40-60’h x 20-40’w. Irregular shape, somewhat narrow oval and open. Branches grow in an interesting, twisting manner that create winter interest.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Moist, rich soil is preferred. Adapts well to harsh conditions and soil. Withstands hot dry environments.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Large, flowering shade tree. Also a beautiful specimen tree with a unique form.  Does well in Utah. Medium to fast growing rate. High maintenance. Tends to be messy, dropping flowers, leaves, and fruit capsules at different times. Wood is brittle and small branches can break off in storms.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Family/Origin: Bignoniaceae – Catalpa. Native to a small area in southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, western Tennessee and Kentucky, and northeastern Arkansas.

Campus use: Common. Can be found west of William Stuart Building (Bld 6).

Umbrella Catalpa

Catalpa bignonioides 'Nana'

Leaves: Deciduous. Heart-shaped leaves vary from 4-8” long, 3-8” wide, and have a smooth leaf edge. Medium to dark green leaf color. Fall color is insignificant. Leaves sometimes drop while still green. Strong odor when crushed.

Bark/Twigs: Fissured, grayish-brown bark with furrows, sometimes thick and with red-brown scales. Bark is easily damaged and thin when young.

Flowers/Fruit: Rarely flowers. Rarely produces fruits.

Mature size and shape: Small. 15-20’h x 15-20’w. Dwarf, bushy variety with a rounded, uniform, and dense crown that is umbrella or mushroom shaped.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Moist, rich soil is preferable. A grafted dwarf cultivar of the Southern catalpa that looks like a large mushroom, globe, or umbrella.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Stands out as a beautiful specimen tree with a unique form.  Slow to medium growing rate. Average maintenance. Can be planted near power lines. Weak wooded. Normally grafted at 4-5' above ground.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-8

Family/Origin: Bignoniaceae – Catalpa. Of French origin. A grafted dwarf cultivar of the Southern catalpa that looks like a large mushroom, globe, or umbrella.

Campus use: Rare. Large specimen can be found south of Social and Behavioral Science (Bld 25). Only other specimen is on the northwest corner of Gardner Hall (Bld 3).