Types Of Trees In Michigan: Northern Catalpa

Of all the types of trees in Michigan that share unique features, Catalpa trees may take the cake. Catalpa speciosa (as they are also known) are also called cigar trees. It’s a reference to the long, thin seed pods that bear the trees’ fruit. In southern Michigan, this type of tree is a common native species.

It’s actually native to the entire US Midwest. Initially, it was believed that Catalpa speciosa was unique to a tiny region around the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Today, its range is vast. It spreads east of the Rocky Mountains outside of its restricted pre-settlement location, which blurs its true native range.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Northern Catalpa and what makes this type of tree in Michigan so special. 

History Of The Northern Catalpa

The catalpa tree was first cultivated in 1754. It is also commonly known as the Indian bean tree, catawba, caterpillar tree, hardy catalpa, and western catalpa.

The Northern Catalpa Leaves

The Northern Catalpa has very distinctive leaves. They’re large. They can grow up to 12″ in length and 4–8″ wide. But it’s its heart shape that makes them stand out the most though.

Large Seed Pods

Another distinctive feature of the Northern Catalpa is its seed pods. They’re long, skinny and dark. The pods can grow up to 24 inches, and range in color from green during the spring season to brown as they ripen and as colder weather sets in.  

This Tree Leaves A Mess

If you plant one, you may want to keep it away from sidewalks or driveways. Not only can the pods be a problem, but so can its white flowers. They are showy and give off a nice fragrance, but may require cleanup when they fall.

The seed pods also drop. And when they do, they can be slippery, especially when they get wet. 

Other Facts About The Northern Catalpa

This tree has several other unique facts, including:

  • Its branches and trunk develop a twist
  • It flowers 7 years after being planted.
  • Grows fast and in an oval shape
  • Is hardy enough to withstand city conditions but still add visual interest

Hummingbirds like the catalpa’s flower. The catalpa sphinx moth lives in it. And bees love the nutrition the tree provides in early summer.

Safari Tree Keeps Your Trees Beautiful

If you have a Northern Catalpa, or any tree in your yard that you would like to maintain its beauty, contact Safari Tree today.

​​Our tree care treatment plan includes a spring feeding of fertilizer delivered straight to the root system of your trees and shrubs. And over the summer, your trees will get 3 more treatments to fight disease and pests. We’ll even optimize your schedule of treatments to match the needs of the season.

You’ll get 7 treatments in all, which ensures your trees and shrubs will thrive in Michigan’s ever-changing climate.