Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | Catalpa climax

Catalpa climax

June 25, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

As I've noted too many times—OK, whined about far too often—it's been a pretty bad year for most flowering plants... except for the Catalpas. From various hikes and drives around the neighborhood, 2018 is definitely an amazing year for these semi-natives: there are two North American species, the Northern and Southern Catalpa, but the former was actually a midwesterner while the latter was a southeasterner; both, because of their spectacular flowers, have been used extensively as landscape plants. And both, because of the remarkable number of seeds they create in long, bean-like pods, have become a common fixture along highways and the sunny edges of woodlands. I think this incredibly floriferous Catalpa is about the best I've ever seen, but I don't know if it's botanically a Southerner or Northerner. They're similar in appearance, with the main field mark being the smell of the leaves: the southern species has foliage that emits an acrid odor when crushed; the leaves of the northern species lack this unpleasant characteristic. Positive ID will have to wait until the next trip to the lake we frequent in the summer; I'll crush some leaves and report back.


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