The flowers of the the Southern Catalpa have stripes inside – landing strips for pollinating insects.
It is a common tree in the Hudson Valley, I often see them growing by the side of the road and in people’s gardens.
Southern Catalpa tree in bloom
The tree grows to about 60′ high.
The branches on a mature tree are very thick (2′ or so wide) and curve, sometimes almost touching the ground.
The leaves are large, up to 12″ long. A friend explained how these thick leathery leaves are difficult to rake in the fall.
Here are the green seed pods in July. The brown pods are from the previous year. The seed pods are about 15′ long.
The seed pods remain on the trees during the winter
The Catalpa tree is also known as the ‘Cigar Tree’
Each seed pod is filled with hundreds of tiny seeds with fibrous ‘wings’ for dispersal by wind.
By winter, most of the seeds have disappeared, but some are still around and provide food for wildlife.
Whilst looking online for information about this tree, I discovered it is the host for the Catalpa Sphinx Moth
According to online stories, the caterpillars make excellent bait for fish. Here’s a little more information about the caterpillar
I have not seen any caterpillars on the trees in my area (a result of pesticide use perhaps?)