WSU Clark County Extension

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Northern Catalpa

Scientific name: Catalpa speciosa

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 8
Plant Characteristics
Height:60 ft
Width:30 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:May to June
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Northern catalpa is best known as a large deciduous tree bearing showy spring flowers. Native to the mid-west.

The white, tubular and frilly-edged flowers have lower petals with yellow and purple spots. Each flower sports a unique line of spots about 2 inches in diameter. The flower's upright stalks range from 4 to 8 inches in length. Flower buds are small, rounded and pale brown. Flowers give rise to narrow, cylindrical, dark brown pods. These pods mature in autumn, then hang from the tree limbs in the dormant season until new flower clusters bloom in May and June.

Leaves on the catalpa tree are opposite or whorled, simple, and very large (6" to 12" long).

Northern Catalpa prefers moist, deep, rich soils of variable pH, but adapts to dry or wet soils, and soils that are poor or primarily clay. It withstands summer heat well. Best suited as a park or large lot tree.

None reported. The bean pods drop all winter, thus this tree is somewhat messy.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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