The Climbing Tree

The Climbing Tree

Tree of the Month - Catalpa • Catalpa speciosa

October/November 2016

by: Gilbert A Smith, ISA Master Arborist

In the Park in Glenview where I grew up, my father grew up and my grandfather raised his family stands an ancient weatherworn Catalpa tree. The leaves are giant “elephant ears” that sway in the slightest breeze.

The huge Pinky-white flowers cover this 60 foot tree even at the top in May/ June. It is one of the few large shade trees with showy, sweet smelling flowers.

The long, thin, cylindrical, fruit pods hanging down within reach can be popped into a child’s mouth as a pretend cigar. That’s where this tree gets one of its common names, Indian Cigar Tree.

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