Catalpa bignonioides
Common name: 
Southern Catalpa
Eastern Catalpa
ka-TAL-pa big-no-ni-OY-dez
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, 30-40 ft (9-12 m), irregular, short crooked branches, coarse.  Leaves whorled or opposite, simple, large, 10-20 cm x 7.5-20 cm, ovate to ovate-oblong, apex abruptly acuminate, base truncate to subcordate, margin entire, nearly glabrous above, slightly pubescent below, especially on the veins.  Flowers in large, upright terminal panicles, 20-25 cm long, blooms later than C. speciosa, flowers white tube-shaped, each with 2 ridges and 2 rows of yellow spots and numerous purple-brown spots.  Fruit is a long, narrow green, finally brown, pod, to 35 cm or more long and about 0.7 cm wide, thin-walled, persist in winter and spring and contains numerous oblong, winged seeds.
  • Sun and partial shade.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 5     Native to Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • This species is smaller but similar to C. speciosa and several authors list the following as means to separate the two:
    C. bignonioides relative to C. speciosa
    • flowers later (about 2 weeks)
    • more flowers per cluster
    • leaves abruptly acuminate
    • leaves give an unpleasant odor when crushed (C. speciosa scentless)
    • fruit width less than 1 cm and fruit wall thinner
    • trunk bark thin (not thick and ridged)
  • bignonioides: like (-oides) Bignonia.   It was classified in a “catch all genus”, Bignonia, in the 1700s, which also included the trumpet vine, Bignonia radicans, now known as Campsis radicans (Wikipedia).
  • Oregon State University campus:  SE corner of 26th St. and Arnold Way
  • Silverton, Oregon: The Oregon Garden,
  • Portland, Oregon: Hoyt Arboretum
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • leaves and flowers

    leaves and flowers

  • flower and leaf

    flower and leaf

  • leaf and start of fruit growth

    leaf and start of fruit growth

  • leaves and fruit

    leaves and fruit

  • fruit and seeds

    fruit and seeds

  • seeds, comparison

    seeds, comparison

  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • bud and leaf scar, winter

    bud and leaf scar, winter