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An individual instance of Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa)
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This tree is located between the Central Library loading dock and 21st Ave. S., near the crosswalk to the Wesley Place garage. If you have been taking the Main Campus tree tour, you have reached its end. If you wish, you can begin the Peabody tree tour by crossing 21st Ave. S. and continuing to the first tree. If you didn't start at the beginning of the Main Campus tour and want to begin there, you can go south along 21st Ave. S. one block and climb up to the pedestrian bridge from which you can view the first tree on the Main Campus tour.

Catalpa trees are best known for their long fruits that hang in great masses from the trees in the fall.  Although these seed pods look similar to those produced by members of the pea family, catalpa fruits produce flat, winged seeds rather than beans.  In the spring, the tree produces showy flowers that are quite interesting because they exhibit a color pattern known as "nectar guides".  These patterns guide intelligent insects like bees to the back of the flower for a nectar reward while the flower dusts the bee with pollen.

Because the tree has flowers, developing fruits, or mature fruits during most of the year, it is a relatively easy tree to recognize.  The fairly large, heart-shaped leaves are also typical for the species.

There are two species of catalpa which are fairly difficult to distinguish.  Most of the catalpas in Nashville are northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa).  Although native to west Tennessee, catalpas are not common in the wild.  But they are common in cities where they are planted and establish themselves in disturbed areas.

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This organism is a living specimen that is part of the  Vanderbilt University Arboretum  with the local identifier 2-930.

This particular organism is believed to have managed means of establishment.

This organismal entity has the scope: multicellular organism.


Catalpa speciosa

(Warder) Warder ex Engelm.

sec. Gleason Cronquist 1991

common name: northern catalpa
family: Bignoniaceae
Identified 2001-11-19 by Steven J. Baskauf


Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, US
Click on these geocoordinates to load a map showing the location: 36.14586°, -86.79971°
Coordinate uncertainty about: 10 m.

Location of individual determined from GIS database.

Occurrences were recorded for this particular organism on the following dates:

The following images document this particular organism.
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Image View
whole tree (or vine) - general
bark - of a large tree
twig - winter overall
inflorescence - whole - unspecified
inflorescence - whole - unspecified
inflorescence - lateral view of flower
inflorescence - frontal view of flower
inflorescence - close-up of flower interior
fruit - as borne on the plant
fruit - as borne on the plant
fruit - as borne on the plant
fruit - as borne on the plant
fruit - section or open
fruit - immature
fruit - immature

Gleason Cronquist 1991 =

Gleason, Henry A. and Arthur Cronquist, 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, US.

Metadata last modified: 2019-10-16T22:24:42.018-05:00
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