Location: 6955 Corbitt, visible from backyard alley. Enter alley from Pennsylvania.
The northern catalpa is native to the midwestern United States. This large mature tree is a fine example of the species. Its trunk has brown to gray bark and the deciduous leaves are large and harp-shaped with a pointed tip and are softly hairy underneath. The flowers are small and trumpet-shaped with yellow stripes and purple spots inside and grow in panicles of 10 – 30. The northern Catalpa fruits are long and hang down, giving the tree its common name of “cigar tree”.
This tree’s leaves are the last to emerge in the spring and among the first to fall off, still green, after the first freeze. Its wood is soft and has a low shrinkage/expansion rate which makes it excellent for carving and boat building.