Home Prairie and Wetland Center
16245 S US Hwy 71
Belton, MO 64012
Tel: (816) 331-9738
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Catalpa speciosa

Northern Catalpa

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Catalpa speciosa (Northern Catalpa)

Northern Catalpa is a medium to large, deciduous tree that typically grows with an irregular, open-rounded to narrow-oval crown. It typically occurs along streams, bluff bases and in both low and upland woods.Large, broad oval to oblong leaves are light green to yellow green above and hairy below. Foliage turns an undistinguished yellow in fall. Flowers can be a real showstopper, however. Bell-shaped, orchid-like, white flowers (to 2" long) with purple and yellow inner spotting appear in panicles in late spring. Flowers are followed by long, slender, green seedpods (12-22" long). The seedpods mature in fall to dark brown and then split open lengthwise to release the seeds within. Seedpods give rise to the common name of cigar tree. Bark of mature trees is fissured, prominently ridged and pale gray-brown.

Additional Information:

40-70 Feet


35-50 Feet


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

Home Owner Growing and Maintenance Tips:
Easily grown in average, medium wet to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions including both wet and dry soils. Tolerant of seasonal flooding. Prefers moist fertile soil.

Good Companions
Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica), Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Characteristics & Attributes

Hydrologic Designation




Season of Interest

Mid (May-June)
Late (July-frost)

Soil Moisture


Special Features

Interesting Bark

Sun Exposure

Full Sun

USFS MO Ecological Map

Wildlife Benefit