Sunday, April 25, 2010

Catalpa

A genus of 11 species of attractive, tropical looking but mostly hardy trees native to China, North America and Cuba. The Catalpas make excellent street and park trees.
They prefer full sun on a moist, fertile, deep, light, well drained soil on a site sheltered from excessive wind that might damage the large foliage.
Catalpas love hot summers and most are flood tolerant. While a number of insect pests and diseases may attack Catalpas, they rarely do any lasting harm to the tree.
Young trees should be trained to a single leader as such trees are more sturdy structurally. On young trees it is recommended to cut back side shoots to encourage the tree to grow tall and stright. Encouraging a strong well spaced branching scaffold is important on young trees. Lower branches can be gradually removed for clearance as the tree grows taller.
Generally propagated from seed which is easily done with no pretreatment, the cultivars can be propagated from softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer.

* historical archive photo


Catalpa bignonoides ( Southern Catalpa )
A fast growing, rounded, large tree to 50 feet that is native to floodplain woodlands of the southeast U.S. Its adaptation is much wider, and in the past 100 years it has spread in the wild to cover anywhere from Michigan to Massachussetts and south. Some records include: a 5 foot tree was recorded to grow to 20 feet in 2 years; fastest recorded growth rate - 8 feet; 20 years - 80 x 40 feet;
largest on record - 105 x 85 feet with a trunk diameter of 7.5 feet; largest in Maryland - 86 x 81 x 6 feet @ Ruxton, Baltimore Co. Other extremely large trees are recorded to grow in Palestine, TX and Detroit, MI. The Southern Catalpa can live up to 224 years.
The velvety, long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves are large, up to 12 x 10 inches in size. The leaves are often carried in whorls of 3 and are rarely lobed. The foliage emerges downy and purplish-green late in spring and turns to bright green and smooth above; paler green and downy below and remains that until turning to yellow in autumn.
The bell-shaped flowers, up to 2 x 2 inches in size, are white with purple and yellow spotting. They are borne in large, erect panicles up to 12 inches in length during summer.
The long persistant pods are bean-like and up to 20 inches in length.
The bark is scaly.
Indians smoked the Catalpa beans for hullucinogenic effect.
Hardy zones 4 to 9. Very heat tolerant, even known to tolerate 120 F.
They are also rarely bothered by insects or pest.
It is easily raised from seed which germinate early the following spring. The Catalpa is also easy to reporduce easily from cuttings.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Oct 31 2013 @ Hampton Ntl. Historic Site, Towson, MD

* photo taken on July 26 2015 @ Niagara Parks Bot. Gardens, Niagara Falls, ON

* historical archive photos


'Aurea'
Foliage is bright yellow in spring, turning green around mid summer. In cooler climates, its foliage often remains yellow all summer long. Reaches up to 9 feet in 3 years, eventually to almost 50 feet.

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


'Nana'
A dwarf that is naturally a shrub, but often grafted as a mini "umbrella tree". The largest on record in 23 x 35 feet with a trunk diameter of 32 inches. A very large tree grows at Mt Lebanon Cemetary in Lebanon, PA.

* historical archive photos


Catalpa bungei ( Manchurian Catalpa )
A pyramidal tree reaching around 40 feet that is native to northern China. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 8 feet; largest on record - 50 x 30 feet with a trunk diameter of 20 inches.
The thick, leathery leaves are triangular with a long tip and up to 8 x 4.5 inches in size. The foliage is mid green in color.
The flowers can be either white or rosy pink, have purple spots and are borne in summer.
The seed capsules, up to 20 inches in length are skinnier than that of Catalpa speciosa.
Hardy zones 3 to 7. The hardiest of Catalpas, seed derived from seed source origining from the coldest parts of its native range will even grow in the harsh northern prairie climate of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Native to some hardcore hot summer/cold winter continental climate parts of Asia, it is unlikely to thrive in maritime climate coastal regions such as western Europe.

* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.






* photos taken on Feb 8 2014 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Catalpa x erubescens
A hybrid between Catalpa bignonoides and C. ovata that becomes a large, broadly spreading tree to 70 feet or more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 6 feet; 21 years - 51 feet; 25 years - 60 x 40 feet; largest on record - 100 x 85 feet with a trunk diameter of 7.5 feet. A 60 foot tree is known to exist near the Hor- ticulture Building at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Ontario and has never suffered winter damage.
The leaves are very large to 14 inches or more, some even reach up to 24 x 16 inches on vigorous shoots. The leaves typically have 3 shallow lobes but are untoothed. They emerge bronzy-green in spring turning to deep green.
The fragrant blooms up to 1.5 inches long are white with purple markings and are borne in dense panicles up to 16 inches in length during late spring.
Narrow seed pods up to 15 inches in length follow.
The gray-brown bark splits into scaly ridges.
Hardy zones 5 to 9

'Purpurea'
The shoots and the emerging spring foliage is purple-black, later turning to deep green.

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA
* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


Catalpa fargesii ( Farge's Catalpa )
A large attractive tree reaching around 70 feet, that is native to mountainous regions of western China. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 feet; 20 years - 40 feet; largest on record - 110 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 3 feet; largest in Massachussetts - 55 feet @ Arnold Arboretum, Boston. Long lived to 100 years or more.
The thick leathery, broadly-ovate leaves, up to 8 x 5 inches, taper to a fine point.
The foliage is bronze at first, turning to very glossy deep green above and downy beneath in summer. The leaves are borne on stalks up to 4 inches in length and often have one or 2 short side lobes.
The flowers, up to 2 inches long, are rosy pink with a yellow blotch and purple spots. They are borne in dense clusters in late spring.
They are followed by very slender, hanging seed pods reaching up to 32 inches in length.
The dark gray bark peels in rectangular plates leaving freshly exposed light gray-pink bark beneath.
Hardy zones 5 to 9 tolerating as low as -25 F

Catalpa longissima ( Yokewood or Tropical Catalpa )
A large rare tree reaching around 80 feet that is native to Jamaica and Haiti. Some records include: 2 years - 8 feet; 4 years - 13 feet; 7 years - 20 feet; 13 years - 47 feet; 37 years - 66 feet with a trunk diameter of 10 inches; largest on record - 120 x 81 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet.
The leathery foliage is smaller and narrower than most Catalpas, only reaching up to 6 x 2 inches.
The flowers are white with pink tints and are borne in loose clusters in summer.
They are followed by seed capsules reaching up to 26 inches in length.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 and is moderately salt tolerant and very drought tolerant.

Catalpa ovata ( Chinese Yellow Catalpa )
A fast growing, spreading tree to around 50 feet that is native to woodlands from western to northeast China. Some records include: 20 years - 33 x 33 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot; largest on record - 105 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 4 feet. A very large tree ( 66 x 42 feet ) grows at Charles Evans Cemetary in Reading, PA.
The smooth, broadly-oval leaves are up to 10 x 10 inches in size. The leaves often have 3 or 5 lobes. The lush green foliage is downy below. The leafstalks are up to 8 inches in length.
The flowers, up to 1 inch wide, are smaller than that of most Catalpas and are creamy white with red and yellow markings. They are borne in clusters up to 20 x 10 inches in size.
They are followed by seed capsules up to 16 inches in length.
Hardy zones 3 to 8, exceptionally cold hardy, it is fully hardy in the Ottawa Valley of Canada. I still have not had an oppertunity to photograph this plant however to plan to find the ones that supposedly grow on the south side of the DC Tidal Basin.

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery


Catalpa punctata ( Robillo )
A tree native to Cuba, reaching a maximum height of 70 feet.
The foliage is shiny and leathery.
The flowers are yellow with purple stripes. They are borne in sparse clusters in summer.
The seed pods are up to 26 inches in length.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 and flood tolerant.

Catalpa speciosa ( Northern Catalpa )
A large broadly columnar tree to 80 feet or more, that is native to moist woods, floodplains and swamps of the Mississippi Valley, though naturalized as far north as southern Wisconsin to southern Michigan to Massachusetts. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 10 feet ( Windsor, ON ); 6 years - 25 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 inches; 20 years - 82 x 50 feet with trunk diameter of 16 inches; largest on record - 182 x 70 feet with a trunk diameter of 9 feet. Very large trees are recorded on the State Capital Ground in Lansing, MI ( 107 x 85 x 6.5 feet ) as well as in Walla Walla, WA.
The Northern Catalpa can live up to around 125 years.
The smooth-edged, leathery leaves are very similar to Catalpa bignonioides but are larger, up to 16 x 9 inches in size. The foliage emerges late in spring and remains verdant yellow-green for quite some time before deepening to glossy medium to deep green above and pale green and downy below. The leaves are generally borne on long stalks in whorls of 3.
The foliage casts very dense shade.
The flowers are also larger ( 3 inches ) but are borne in clusters ( up to 12 inches ) that are not as dense. They also appear a few weeks earlier in late spring.
They are followed by cylindrical brown seed pods up to 14 or rarely 24 x 1 inches.
The seed pods often persist through the winter.
The twigs are very stout and gray giving the tree a rugged winter appearance.
The reddish brown bark is furrowed, scaly and fissured. The wood weights about 26 pounds per square foot.
Hardy zones 2 to 8. Flood tolerant.

* photo taken on July 2008 in Howard County, MD

* photo taken on April 18 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC





* photo taken on May 1 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on August 4 2010 in Clinton, Ontario


* photo taken on Oct 23 2012 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on July 24 2015 in Goderich, ON

* photos taken on July 15 2016 in Goderich, ON

* photos taken on Aug 29 2016 in Wilkes-Barre, PA

* historical archive photos


RELATED PLANTS

Chilopsis linearis ( Desert Willow )
A fast growing, small to medium size tree native to the southwestern U.S.from southern California & Nevada to western Texas; south to the Mexican border. The Desert Willow is Weeping Willow-like in habit and reaches around 30 feet with a dense, narrow crown. It often has an open airy crown and a twisted trunk. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 feet; largest on record - 70 x 54 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.5 feet.
The linear, deciduous to nearly evergreen foliage is luxuriant mid-green, turning to yellow during autumn. The leaves are up to 12 x 1 inches in size.
The tubular flowers, up to 3 inches wide, are white with yellow, pink and rose markings inside and are borne in terminal clusters in summer. The flowers can also sometimes be pale pink or purple. The flowers attract hummingbirds. They are borne in clusters up to 4 inches in length from June to September.
The flowers are followed by a narrow, cylindrical seed capsule, up to 12 inches in length, that ripens to brown.
The dark brown bark is shaggy, scaly and ridged.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade. It is very tolerant of heat and drought. It can also grow far outside its native range and is known to grow well in the Mid Atlantic region. To ensure winter hardiness, plant during spring only and do not irrigate after mid-September to harden off before winter ( in fact it prefers to be dry during winter ). Plants can be cut back to near groundlevel during winter for renovation. They are easy to propagate from seed.

* photo of unknown internet origin

* photo taken on 4th of July @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


'Bubba'
Deep violet flowers and deep green leaves; otherwise identical to species.

Burgundy Lace'
Purplish-red flowers and gray-green foliage; otherwise identical to species.

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


'Lucretia Hamilton'
Profuse deep-red flowers are borne over a long season, otherwise similar.

'Timeless Beauty'
A seedless variety that blooms over a much longer season than regular Chilopsis linearis.

'Warren Jones'
Gray-green semi-evergreen foliage and large pale pink flowers; otherwise identical to species.

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


Chitalpa tashkentesis ( Chitalpa )
An intergeneric hybrid between Catalpa bignonioides & Chilopsis linearis. It forms a fast growing, rounded, medium-sized, deciduous tree, reaching up to 35 x 35 feet. It typically averages about 20 x 20 feet in 10 years.
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 8 x 1 inches in size, are usually borne in whorls of 3. The foliage is glossy bright to mid-green.
The pale pink, trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 1 inch in length, are borne on an inflorescence during late spring to early autumn. The flowers are magnets for hummingbirds.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 ( tolerating as low as -15 F ) in full sun on just about any well drained soil. It may freeze to the ground during unusually severe winters in zone 6. Very heat tolerant including reflected heat in parking lots. Mildew can be a problem in some areas where summers are hot and humid. Propagation is from cuttings.

'Morning Cloud'
White flowers.
More mildew resistant compared to 'Pink Dawn'


'Pink Dawn'
Purplish-pink flowers.

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