CATALPA BIGNONIOIDES.--Indian Bean. North America, 1798. When in
full bloom this is a remarkable and highly ornamental tree, the
curiously-marked flowers and unusually large, bronzy-tinted foliage
being distinct from those of almost any other in cultivation. That it
is not, perhaps, perfectly hardy in every part of the country is to be
regretted, but the numerous fine old specimens that are to be met with
all over the
ountry point out that there need be little to fear when
assigning this pretty and uncommon tree a position in our parks and
gardens. The flowers, produced in spikes at the branch-tips, are white,
tinged with violet and speckled with purple and yellow in the throat.
Individually the flowers are of large size and very ornamental, and,
being produced freely, give the tree a bright and pleasing appearance
when at their best. Usually the tree attains to a height of 30 feet in
this country, with rather crooked and ungainly branches, and large
heart-shaped leaves that are downy beneath. It flourishes well on any
free soil, and is an excellent smoke-resisting tree. C. bignonioides
aurea is a decided variety, that differs mainly in the leaves being of
a desirable golden tint.
C. BUNGEI and C. KAEMPFERI, natives of China and Japan, are hardly
to be relied upon, being of tender growth, and, unless in the most
favoured situations, suffer from our severe winters. They resemble our
commonly cultivated tree.
C. SPECIOSA.--United States, 1879. The Western Catalpa is more erect
and taller of growth than C. bignonioides. The flowers too are larger,
and of purer white, and with the throat markings of purple and yellow
more distinct and not inclined to run into each other. Leaves large,
heart-shaped, tapering to a point, of a light pleasing green and soft
to the touch. It flowers earlier, and is more hardy than the former.