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Monday, July 1, 2013

Catalpa speciosa - Catalpa

Catalpa trees are large deciduous shade trees. They are in the old school group, not commonly planted anymore but great to see when in bloom. Like these on Catalpa St in Santa Cruz. 

Catalpas may be 40-60' tall and about as wide, forming a rounded dense crown with thick course branches. Considered to be medium in growth rate but I have seen young trees grow really fast, especially seedlings coming up in your garden. The tend to be a bit messy throughout the year as most of the parts are big and generally end up on the ground.



Fall color can be pretty nice giving you some joy before you have to pick up all the leaves. There is a small one on a hillside in Nicene Marks that glows in the sun in the fall. 



Catalpas have large simple leaves, 6-10" long and wide. They are usually whorled (3 per node, see below) ovate or cordate shaped with a pointed tip and a lobed base. Light to medium green above and pubescent below.



Stems are thick, green to start but eventually brown. Bark is nice, brownish and fissured. You can see the 3 leaves attached to the stem at one location, whorled arrangement.



Trees are quite pretty when in bloom. The flowers are arranged in upright panicles with whorls of flowers at each node. Generally blooming early June.



Tubular white flowers are about 2" long with yellow and purple spots on the throat. 



Fruit is a long capsule 8-18" long. Splits open to release the seeds.


Misidentification:
not sure, pretty easy to spot, large cordate leaf, flowers if there.

Location:
Santa Cruz
Catalpa St. Off Water

Capitola
708 Riverview Drive

Aptos
275 Spreckles Dr. (you can see it from the overpass on hiway 1)



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