Indian Bean Tree
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Indian Bean Tree
D Introduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Indian Bean Tree, Southern catalpa, Cigartree
Botanical name: Catalpa bignonioides    Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)
Synonyms: Bignonia catalpa, Bignonia spectabilis, Catalpa cordifolia

Indian Bean Tree is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing up to 15-18 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter, with brown to gray bark, maturing into hard plates or ridges. The short thick trunk supports long and straggling branches which form a broad and irregular head. The roots are fibrous and branches are brittle. Its juices are watery and bitter. The leaves are large and heart shaped, being 20-30 cm long and 15-20 cm broad. The flowers are 2.5-4 cm across, trumpet shaped, white with yellow spots inside; they grow in panicles of 20-40. Flowers are white, spotted with purple and gold, and some of these spots are arranged in lines along a ridge, so as to lead directly to the honey inside. A single flower when fully expanded is two inches long and an inch and a half wide. It is two-lipped and the lips are lobed, two lobes above and three below, as is not uncommon with such flowers. The fruit is a long, thin bean like pod 20-40 cm long and 8-10 mm diameter; it often stays attached to tree during winter. The pod contains numerous flat light brown seeds with two papery wings. Indian Bean Tree is native to the United States, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Srinagar, Kashmir.

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