Southern Catalpa

Determining if a tree is a catalpa is easy. The hard part is classifying the specific species of catalpa. There are two species of catalpa native to the US, the northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) and the southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides). One major difference between the two are a more pointed leaf tip on the northern catalpa. There are also larger flowers on the northern catalpa. Both of these differences are very small, and of course not noticable now during the winter. The catalpa makes a great planted tree because of its fast growth rate and copius flowers during the summer. It makes a great specimen to punctuate the borders of the Yard. It's unclear which species of catalpa are in the yard, but I have labeled them as southern catalpa.

This catalpa tree guards the gate on the north side of the Yard near the Science Center.

The flowers of both species look very similar, and appear around the beginning of June. Soon after very long seed pods will form that persist throughout the following winter.

Virginia Tech Dendrology info - northern catalpa, southern catalpa

Created by Ryan Lynch

Map template courtesy the Harvard Planning and Allston Initiative

Last updated May 28, 2007