Northern Catalpa

Catalpa speciosa

Northern Catalpa: Full Tree - Click for larger image
  • Family: Bignoniaceae

  • Large-sized tree

  • Rounded crown and spreading branches

  • Height ranges between 15-24m (50’-80’)
Twigs & Fruiting Structures
Distribution and Uses


  • Oppositely-paired or in whorls of 3

  • Large, heart-shaped, long-pointed, untoothed, and sometimes hairy beneath

  • Round or heart-shaped at base; 15-30cm (6-12”) long, 10-20cm (4”-8”) wide

  • Dull green color above, paler hairy green below


Northern Catalpa: Leaves - Click for larger image
Northern Catalpa: Fruit - Click for larger image

Twigs & Fruiting Structures

  • Green twigs; become brown and hairless

  • Thinly cigar-shaped fruit (12-15mm or 1/2 - 5/8” in diameter) and quite long (25-61cm or 10-24”)

  • Fruit has solid whitish pith

  • Fruit has many small seeds (about 5cm or 2”); fruit matures during autumn; remains attached during winter

  • Flowers about 7.5 cm (3”) and clustered at twig-ends; coloring is white with yellow and purple spots



  • Brownish grey and smooth; becoming furrowed and scaly with some ridges with maturity

Distribution & Uses

  • Prefers wet woods; often naturalized in open areas such as roadsides and clearings

  • Found the furthest north of any of its tropical family members; distribution includes Indiana and Arkansas to Northeast

  • Planted for shade and ornamentation


Northern Catalpa: Bark - Click for larger image