how do you tell apart Northern and Southern Catalpa, really?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)October 31, 2013

OK, I confess.

They're often derided, but I like Catalpas. Always have.

However, with the exteptions of the golden and purple leaved cultivars, I have a LOT of trouble telling apart the two native Catalpas...C. bignonioides & C. speciosa.

The only thing I can go off of is *usually* C. speciosa grows larger.

Are there any good "clues" to tell the difference?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Different crown structure, flower structure and flowering times. Northern is tall growing with smaller heads of bigger flowers earlier in the summer (June); in bloom the heads are bunchy enough for it to look kind of like a rhododendron, from some distance. Southern is broad growing with large and open, branching heads of smaller flowers still being out much farther along in summer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 2:26PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Sounds like 90% of the Catalpas I see around are Northern then.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:22PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Most of what you see in the mid-Atlantic states are N catalpa. The best way to tell on older trees is the trunk bark -- flaky, scaly on S catalpa, furrowed (like most other common trees) on N catalpa.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 8:54AM
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