The Enticing Catalpa Bloom


Beauty can certainly be found in the Catalpa bloom. If you are not familiar with the catalpa tree, you will be surprised to find some very interesting information on this tree and its lovely blooms. This tree was named by an indian tribe in South Carolina, the Catawba tribe. They named the tree the Catalpa. Stories have been told that the indians smoked the bean pods for their hallucinogenic effects. Many people have referred to the tree as the Indian Cigar Tree, the smoking bean, indian bean, and the most widely used name being the Catalpa or Catawba. (Note: You might find catalpa bloom misspelled as, catalpa boom in some article searches)

"Catalpa Bloom"

Gorgeous Catalpa Blooms

The tree can be found in two species in North America, the Southern Catalpa, C. Bignonioides, and the Northern Catalpa, C. Speciosa. The two varieties are very similar. These are relatively hardy plants, growing in zones 4 to 8. They are recognizable by their large, heart-shaped leaves, and their flowers.

Their fragrant white flowers are splashed with yellow and purple. They have long, skinney seed pods that look like bean pods. These beautiful flowers are large, frilly and closely resemble orchids in appearance. They have yellow patches and purple dots, with no specific repeating patterns amongst each bloom.

The flowers of the Catalpa bloom any where from June to July. The flowers last any where from one to two weeks. They have a very sweet scent that is very strong. Some people may not like the strong scent of the flowers, so beware of that before planting the tree. Also, some people may find that they are allergic to the pollen of the Catalpa blooms. Because of their sweet scent, they do attract wildlife such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. This is definitely a tree to plant if you enjoy enticing insects and birds to your yard or garden.

After the flowers bloom, they will shed the flowers and may turn several colors before they finally have a brown seed pod left. This pod may reach up to a foot long. They may be found on the tree, even through winter.

"Catalpa Bloom and Seed Pods"

Catalpa bloom and seed pods

"Heart Shaped Leaves and Catalpa Blooms"

Catalpa have heart shaped leaves and white blooms

In the fall or spring, the pods will open up and drop hundreds of little flat seeds everywhere. Birds love these seeds. Those that are not eaten will soon overtake your landscape with tiny Catalpa trees. They should be pulled up as soon as possible to avoid having a Catalpa forest in your backyard.

The Catalpa leaves are a deep shade of green and have a lighter green bottom. Some species may have leaves that are a more purple and golden leaved, but most Catalpas are the deep green.

The tree is rather slow to produce its leaves in the spring, but when they do they grow and may reach up to a foot long. You may decide to place this tree near a canopy gazebo so that you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the catalpa blooms. This may even persuade you to buy a canopy gazebo for your  yard and garden.

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