Northern Catalpa

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 3: 238. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society. Scanned by Omnitek Inc.

Southern Catalpa

USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Provided by NRCS National Wetland Team, Fort Worth, TX.

Northern Catalpa

Flower/Fruit: Upright panicle of white, bell shaped flowers with orange strips and purple spots and strips.

Leaves are simple, large ovate to ovate-oblong, from 8 to 12 inches long, are heart-shaped tropical looking without any lobes and are yellowish green in color. Leaves are generally opposite on large branches and often whorled in 3 on young stems. They turn an undistinguished yellow in the fall before dropping.

Southern Catalpa

Flowers: 6 to 12" panicle of white bell shaped flowers with two rows and ridges of yellow spots and numerous purple spots in early summer Flowers later than C. speciosa and has more purple color.

Leaves are simple, may be opposite or whorled (3 per node), pinnately veined, 5 to 12 inches long , 4 to 6 inches broad, heart shaped at the base, and have a long petiole with entire margins and soft pubescence on the underside, which is also a lighter green than the top surface.


Key to Catalpa Species
I. Leaves are 6-12 inches (15-301/2 cm) long with acuminate leaf tips. Foliage has no odor when crushed. Flowers are white with yellow-striped or brown-dotted throats. Flowers are borne in comparatively small terminal panicles. Flowers open in June.
Catalpa speciosa-Northern Catalpa

II. Leaves are 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) long with abruptly acuminate leaf tips. Foliage has an unpleasant odor when crushed. Flowers are white with yellow stripes and brown dots in the throat. Flowers are borne in many-flowered clusters and open in June and July.
Catalpa bignonioides-Southern Catalpa

------------------------------------------------ Northern Catalpa


Differences between the two species of Catalpa.  

Cigar-Tree/Catalpa ( Catalpa speciosa ) -apex of leaf long-acuminate;flowers
5-6cm wide, faintly purple spotted in flower.

Indian-Bean/Catalpa ( Catalpa bignonioides ) -apex of leaf abruptly aciminate;
flowers 3-4cm wide, conspicuously purple-spotted in flower