Crow’s Nest: Plants we love… Catalpa

June 25, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Okay, this one is a bit subjective… but I like it and we have one in our yard at the preserve (which gives my opinion some credence). Northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) is a large, messy, and beautiful tree, native to North America (though not necessarily right here). It’s not suitable for all landscapes—you’ve got to have the space, and tolerate its large bean seed pods and spotty leaves falling, and in some places it can be found to be invasive (we haven’t observed that here).

It’s an old-fashioned plant—when was the last time you saw one for sale in a nursery? A 2014 article in the New York Times lamented that this tree has been the victim of the vagaries of horticultural fashion, in addition to being challenged by its physical attributes.

Ours is also a grand, multi-trunked tree that frames the view of the barn. It’s past its prime, but I don’t know what we would do without it. Maybe it’s time to think about where to plant another one…

Photo: Daniel Barringer