Apr. 11, 2022

northern catalpa, Catalpa speciosa

Worm tree! If I had known then what I know now! Instead of digging for bait, I could have just picked it off the catalpa trees. No, not the fruit, but the caterpillars. These trees have actually been planted by enthusiastic anglers who use the catalpa caterpillars. I can vaguely remember my disappointment the first time I saw catalpa beans. They just look like they need to be fun for something. But then an examination reveals their tough, practically unbreakable, yucky nature. Only good for more cigar trees. And not very good for that at one time. Whatever the ancient range, by the time of European arrival this tree was limited to a small area where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi then northward to around Cahokia. Now the flowers have attracted our attention and you can see them almost anywhere east of the Rockies. Northern catalpa now grows in AL, AR, CO, CT, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, and ON. Lenawee Co MI, 6/17/11. Bignonia family, Bignoniaceae.