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Chinese Catalpa

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A small ornamental tree with very large, coarse leaves, showy orchid-like flowers in early summer, and interesting long, narrow beanpod-shaped fruit in fall; use where a coarse texture is required, makes a spectacular specimen for the front yard

Characteristics

Species:
ovata
Average Landscape Height:
40 feet
Average Landscape Width:
25 feet
Genus:
Catalpa
Branching:
decurrent
Plant Form:
round
Canopy:
low
Growth Rate:
fast
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Flower Color:
butter
Flower Eye Color:
yellow
Flower Form:
orchid
Flower Fragrance:
medium
Flower Period:
in mid summer
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Minimum Moisture:
dry
Pollution Tolerance:
medium

Ornamental Features

Chinese Catalpa features subtle panicles of lightly-scented buttery yellow orchid-like flowers with yellow throats rising above the foliage in mid summer. It has green deciduous foliage. The large lobed leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color. The fruits are showy brown pods displayed from mid summer to late winter. The fruit can be messy if allowed to drop on the lawn or walkways, and may require occasional clean-up.

Landscape Attributes

Chinese Catalpa is a deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its strikingly bold and coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced landscape composition.

Planting & Growing

Chinese Catalpa will grow to be about 40 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 25 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 5 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

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