This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Catalpa flowers

The last of the big trees that have interesting flowers are blooming this week, the catalpas. (If there are any other trees left to bloom, I do not know what they are.) The catalpas have beautiful flowers, and some of them are close enough to the ground so you can see them well.
The catalpa is a fast growing tree with durable wood. Its native range was limited to several states near the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, but it was widely planted by farmers for a source of fence posts back when fence posts were made of wood. Now it a fairly common shade tree. It is easy to identify in a number of ways. Its large, heart shaped leaves are unlike any other, it has long, narrow, bean-shaped seed pods, and its flowers are easily recognized. It also has a distinctive shape that makes it identifiable even in the winter.
Also blooming or finishing blooming are the totally unimpressive osage orange trees. I thought because they have big fruit, they might have impressive flowers, and they do not. The flowers are interesting because there are boy trees and girl trees. I think this might be a girl tree because last year it had fruit.


Sarah said...

Catalpas are among my favorite flowers. Any chance you can save some osage orange fruits for us later? Our house is overrun with spiders.

Desert Survivor said...

Our catalpas finished blooming a couple weeks ago. They sure are pretty. They are the last trees in our yard to leaf out every year, and they always seem sort of dead until they do.