Bunge Catalpa - Catalpa bungei
Family: Bignoniaceae
Also commonly called Catawba.
This tree is native to temperate Asia; China. 
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Bunge Catalpa bark
Catalpas are deciduous trees that grow to 18 metres (59 ft) and 12 metres (39 ft) wide. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 6 metres (20 ft) tall. They can be recognized by their large heart-shaped to three-lobed leaves, showy white or yellow flowers in broad panicles, and in the autumn by their 20–50 centimetres (7.9–20 in) long fruits which resemble a slender bean pod, containing numerous small flat seeds, each seed having two thin wings to aid wind dispersal. [1]

The two North American species, Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides), and Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) have been widely planted outside their natural ranges as ornamental trees for their showy flowers and attractive shape, or growing habit. Northern and Southern Catalpa are very similar in appearance, but the northern species has slightly larger leaves, flowers, and bean pods. Flowering starts after 275 growing degree days. The Yellow Catalpa (Catalpa ovata) from China, with pale yellow flowers, is also planted outside its natural range for ornamental purposes [2].

Early fall, losing its leaves. Bunge Catalpa - Catalpa bungei
 Morton Arboretum acc. 498-80*3, from seed, is 30 years old.
The tree is the sole source of food for the Catalpa Sphinx moth (Ceratomia catalpae), the leaves being eaten by the caterpillars. When caterpillars are numerous, infested trees may be completely defoliated. Defoliated catalpas produce new leaves readily, but with multiple generations occurring, new foliage may be consumed by subsequent broods. Severe defoliation over several consecutive years can cause death of trees.

Because the caterpillars are an excellent live bait for fishing, some dedicated anglers plant catalpa mini-orchards for their own private source of "catawba worms," particularly in the southern states. [3]

Catalpa Bean Pods
  1. Bunge Catalpa - Catalpa bungei, Morton Arboretum acc. 498-80*3 photographed by Bruce Marlin
  2. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, "Taxon: Catalpa bungei C. A. Mey."
  3. Wikipedia, "Catalpa"
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