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Catalpa bignonioides

Photo credit J.C. Raulston Arboretum, North Carolina State University

Catalpa, Southern

Somewhat smaller than the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) this deciduous tree has large heart-shaped leaves and in May it has large showy panicles of white flowers with numerous purple spots.  It is sparingly native but widely planted in the South, especially on farmsteads.  The long slender pencil shaped seed pods give it the common name of Indian Cigar.  The Catalpa (or Catawba) worms, the large larvae of a Sphinx Moth, may attack and defoliate these trees in summer but in many places they are planted just for the worms as they are highly prized as fish bait.  The worms are sold and trees often have to be "incoculated" with the worms to insure having them!    

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30-40 feet


30-40 feet


USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9