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Catalpa Trees | Indian Bean Trees

Catalpa trees are flowering plants from the Bignoniaceae family, with only eleven species worldwide and the largest Catalpa standing in Michigan. These Indian Bean trees or Cigar trees, as they are more commonly known, are native to the warmer climates of North America, the Caribbean, and East Asia with Northern Catalpa Trees displaying larger leaves than Southern Catalpa Trees as they are a slightly different species.

 

Etymology of the Catalpa tree

The name Catalpa derives from the Native American name Catawba, with the spelling Catalpa coming from a transcription error made by a describing botanist. The name of this tree is pronounced Catalpa in North America, but often still Catawba in the South.

 

Wildlife benefits of planting an Indian Bean tree

This tree is the only source of food for the Catalpa sphinx moth that eats the leaves in large quantities. When there are a large number of these caterpillars, the trees can sometimes be left completely defoliated. Fishermen also use these caterpillars as fish bait, and so often plant these trees to increase their supply of bait.

 

Cultural and common uses of Catalpa trees

  • In the past Native American people used the leaves and bark of the Catalpa as a dressing on wounds and sores
  • The seeds of Catalpa trees can be used to treat chesty ailments like asthma and bronchitis
  • Tea made from this tree has antiseptic, laxative, and sedative properties
  • Catalpas used to be planted near railway tracks in order to provide a source of wood for railroad ties and eventually started to grow naturally around the country

This deciduous tree grows fast and fairly straight, displaying large, bell-shaped, white flowers in spring against a rot-resistant, light-weight bark. These striking flowers are followed by long-bean like pods that contrast beautifully against the bright yellow-green foliage that adopts a more golden hue in autumn. Catalpa is a great ornamental tree for exciting spring and summer interest suited to most soil types. For more help or planting advice, click here.

Catalpa Trees | Indian Bean Trees
£49.99 (ex. VAT)

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£49.99 (ex. VAT)

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£49.99 (ex. VAT)

Buy | View ›