Tree ID: Catalpa

Photo of Persisting Catalpa capsules

These long, reddish-brown capsules are persisting on a Catalpa* (Catalpa sp.) tree. Though they resemble bean pods, the capsules do not contain legumes, but rather paper-thin seeds with fringed edges. During the green season, Catalpas can be recognized by their showy white flowers (which attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds) and large heart-shaped leaves which grow in pairs or whorls of three. I'm aware of no other broad-leaved tree with leaves and branches in whorls. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)

*I think this is a Northern Catalpa (C. speciosa), but I plan to examine the flowers and leaves later this year to be sure.

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