Southern Catalpa tree flower
In mid-June the Catalpa trees are in bloom and the lemon-vanilla fragrance is so pleasant on a hot day.
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.
Mature tree with large branches
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.
Seed pods in winter
The seed pods remain on the trees during the winter
Seed pods hanging from the branches in winter
The Catalpa tree is also known as the ‘Cigar Tree’
Seeds in the snow
Each seed pod is filled with hundreds of tiny seeds with fibrous ‘wings’ for dispersal by wind.
American Robins eating seeds
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
Catalpa Sphinx Moth. Image by Wikipedia.org
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?)