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Purple Catalpa

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A medium sized shade tree with enormous leaves that are blackish-purple when young, maturing to dark green; very showy white flowers with purple and yellow markings in late spring; long narrow beanpod-shaped fruit in fall are very ornamental

Characteristics

Species:
erubescens
Other Species Names:
Average Landscape Height:
50 feet
Average Landscape Width:
35 feet
Genus:
Catalpa
Branching:
decurrent
Plant Form:
oval
Canopy:
high
Growth Rate:
fast
Pruning:
late winter pruning
Flower Color:
white
Flower Eye Color:
yellow
Flower Form:
orchid
Flower Fragrance:
high
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:
high

Ornamental Features

Purple Catalpa features showy panicles of fragrant white bell-shaped flowers with yellow eyes and purple spots rising above the foliage in late spring. It has attractive green foliage with hints of purple which emerges deep purple in spring. The enormous lobed leaves are highly ornamental and turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The fruits are showy green pods which fade to brown over time, which are carried in abundance 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

Purple Catalpa is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its strikingly bold and coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced landscape composition.

Planting & Growing

Purple Catalpa will grow to be about 50 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 35 feet. It has a high canopy with a typical clearance of 6 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. 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 very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any 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 highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

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