Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
NORTHERN CATALPA, CIGAR-TREE
R. W. Smith
Widely planted as far north as the Straits of Mackinac, and sprouting in disturbed places from the copious winged seeds produced; fields, dumps, fencerows, railroads, roadsides, parking lots, thickets, borders of forests, and along streams. First collected in 1893 in Jackson Co., though without a clear statement as to whether cultivated or not.
Small vegetative Catalpas are frequently seen on roadsides, shores, and disturbed areas. All our flowering and fruiting specimens of clear-cut escapes are this species, although C. bignonioides Walter has frequently been reported from the state. Catalpa speciosa is usually said to have larger corollas (limb 4–6 cm broad), odorless leaves, thicker capsules (12–15 mm wide), and bark on old trees fissured and ridged. Catalpa bignonioides apparently has smaller flowers (corolla limb 2–3 cm broad), leaves ill-smelling when crushed, capsules slenderer (5–10 mm wide), and old bark thin and scaly. Herbarium specimens lacking fruit and/or carefully pressed flowers as well as notes on odor and bark are inadequate for determination.
A single older (1934) fruiting collection from a roadside tree in Kalamazoo Co. does appear to be C. bignonioides, but it is not clear that this collection was not from a planted tree.