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Re: Catalpa Tree

  • Subject: Re: Catalpa Tree
  • From: "Dan Nelson" <sussextreeinc@ce.net>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 11:37:53 -0500

Copied from the book 'Delaware Trees' by William Taber c.1939
Catalpa bignoniodes
A small tree native to the gulf states which because of its conspicuous upright pyramidal panicles of white or purple marked flowers in June has been much planted as an ornamental beyond its range in this country and in Europe. The leaves are six to twelve inches long, heart shaped with entire margins, veins beneath, arranged oppositely or in whorls of 3 about the twig. The fruit is a clylindrical capsule, 10" to 20" long, 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter containing many flattened seeds fringed at both ends.
Catalpa speciosa
A medium to large sized tree of better form than C. bignonioides and much planted in some regions for the production of fence post and rail road ties. Its flower cluster are shorter than those of its southern relative but are, however much larger. Demands full sunlight and deep fertile soil for satisfactory development. The catalpas are often attacked and completely defoliated in summer by attacks of the spinx month larvae.
Catalpa limbs are fairly brittle so be careful if you are climbing. Large horizontal limbs make for fun limb walking. Catalpa heart wood is very dark brown and easily mills.  A good looking tree that is very fast growing and reseeds freely in Delaware. I imagine Catalpa trees present a lot of root competition for hostas.
Dan Nelson
Sussex Tree Inc.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 8:24 AM
Subject: Catalpa Tree

  I had been sorting hosta seeds last night until I was a little crazy so I
decided to pick up a mystery. Part way into it I came across  a botanical
reference which I  found fascinating.  The reference in question was to the
Catalpa tree. The author made the claim that the tree lost all of its giant
leaves at one time, literally....like dominoes. In fact the occasion of the
dropping of the leaves was used as a device to  distract a character from
actually seeing something else.   I  found the tree in  two of my reference
books, but could find no mention of this characteristic. It sounds like a
fascinating tree and apparently  grows well in North America.  After
bagging leaves for the last 4 weeks  I like the idea of a tree which can
make a real commitment to winter in one fell (fall) swoop...pun intended.
Does anybody have experience with this tree? It sounds special..too big for
my plot, but I might try and convince a neighbor who has some
space....after all he has a great deal of experience with my leaves
already. Blessed be the North Wind.

"If only words would keep their meaning and live up to their promise...or
is it me?"
Glen Williams
20 Dewey St.
Springfield , Vermont
Tel: 802-885-2839

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