About eleven species of Catalpa
are native to North America, the Caribbean and eastern Asia.
All are large trees. Some are used for timber. The southern catalpa is native
to the southeastern United
States. It is a large, spreading, deciduous
tree to about fifty feet tall. Leaves are large and somewhat heart-shaped.
Flowers are white with purple spots in the throat, about 1 ½ inch across, and
held on long spikes. Fruits are long, dry cylinders filled with papery seeds
that are distributed by wind. Fishing enthusiasts know catalpa as the source of
the catalpa (or catawba) worm, a popular fish bait. The catalpa worm is the
caterpillar of the catalpa sphinx moth. The wood is relatively soft and has
been used for posts, cross ties, and cabinetry. Native Americans used catalpa
to treat a variety of ailments.
See this plant at University Center.
A large tree to about fifty feet tall.
Light: full sun
Water: moist soils, somewhat drought tolerant
Soil: no special requirements
In the wild, southern catalpa is usually found in low ground
but not in swamps. It is fairly drought tolerant once established. It is easy
to grow in Jacksonville.
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