Northern Catalpa Catalpa speciosa
Family: Bignoniaceae (Bignonia)
Branching: Opposite / Whorled
Other names: Cigar Tree

Catalpa is native to the Eastern US (and maybe some sites in Canada) but is commonly planted as an ornamental.  It is quite distinctive at all times of the year.  In the winter, its long thin pods are very conspicuous and in the summer its large, heart-shaped leaves stand out.  Also, it is the only large tree that can have whorled branching.  Its leaf scars are also unique, being very circular and having sunken-in centers.

Winter twig of Catalpa.  Notice the unique leaf scars and barely visible buds.

Catalpa doesn't have an obvious end bud.

A view of a twig, showing the three leaf scars on either side of the twig.
Catalpa is the only large tree with whorled branching.

The long seed pods (giving rise to the name Cigar-tree)

Often a tree is covered with ripe pods

Middle-aged bark

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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