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Tree Project.

Catalpa Bignonioides - Indian Bean Tree.

The Indian Bean Tree is distantly related to Paulownia and like that it grows very quickly. Again like the Paulownia, it will develop into a large tree reaching some 20 metres in height, but it too can be Coppiced to keep its height in check. Large Leaves are one of its features and indeed in the golden variety, ďAurea,Ē they make quite a show on their own, but added to the fact that as the name suggests, Catalpa Bignonioides produces long, but inedible seed pods, the tree might appeal to many gardeners who have a little more space.
Coming from the Eastern USA, Bignonioides is just one of many different varieties of this species. It does like a slightly milder climate and so is late to leaf up in the Spring and will drop its leaves at the first sign of cold weather in the Autumn.
Unfortunately, the large, heart shaped leaves donít colour up before they drop either, although, the tree does produce some colour from its summer flowers that are usually held in white panicles, or sometimes yellow, in other varieties. Catalpa are easy to grow as they are not fussy on what soil type they are grown in and can be grown easily from seed as they mature at a very young age which means that you donít have to wait decades for a tree to develop unlike some trees do when grown from seed. However, they do not live very long as trees go because their lifespan is only some 60 years or so. These trees do not have many predators feeding on them, although there is one species of caterpillar that likes their poisonous foliage. In fact it is said that some fishermen in America, grow the tree simply to harvest the caterpillars because they are said to be particularly good for fishing. The inedible roots are said to be very poisonous and hallucinogenic, although the leaves can be made into a type of tea to be used in treating snakebites.



 

 

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