Northern Catalpa

Catalpa speciosa

(Hardy Catalpa, Indian-bean, Indian Cigar)


Because it grows so quickly, the catalpa is a popular ornamental. It can add an inch-wide ring a year. It is distinguished for its leaves, its flowers, and its seed pods. The large, heart-shaped leaves can be a foot long. The tree is loved for its upright clusters of white flowers in June. But the winter pods are the most fun. The tree looks as if it has giant string beans hanging from it. These brown pods contain many seeds with fringed papery wings. Children enjoy collecting the pods and sneaking a smoke from the "Indian cigars."