Northern Catalpa
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Northern Catalpa
D Introduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Northern Catalpa
Botanical name: Catalpa speciosa    Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)
Synonyms: Catalpa bignonioides var. speciosa

Northern Catalpa is a medium-sized, deciduous tree growing to 15-30 m tall and 12 m wide. It has a trunk up to 1 m diameter, with brown to gray bark maturing into hard plates or ridges. The leaves are deciduous, opposite (or whorled), large, heart shaped, 20-30 cm long and 15-20 cm broad, pointed at the tip and softly hairy beneath. The winter twigs of northern catalpa are like those of few other trees, having sunken leaf scars that resemble suction cups. Their whorled arrangement (three scars per node) around the twigs is another diagnostic. The flowers are 3-6 cm across, trumpet shaped, white with yellow stripes and purple spots inside; they grow in panicles of 10-30. The fruit is a long, thin legume-like capsule, 20-40 cm long and 1.0-1.2 cm in diameter; it often stays attached to tree during winter (and can be mistaken for brown icicles). The pod contains numerous flat, light brown seeds with two papery wings. Northern Catalpa native to the midwestern United States, cultivated in Kashmir.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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