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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A trash tree?

Some people hate catalpas. They have enormous leaves, which they shed in great numbers, and equally enormous seed pods, which children used to use in pretend sword fights. (Do children still do such things?) They are also the host of great numbers of catalpa sphinx caterpillars, at one time a popular fish bait in the South. (Do people still catch their own bait?) Sometimes, the caterpillars are so numerous as to defoliate the tree, leaving a thirty-foot stick until the new leaves grow. In other words, catalpas will make a mess in any tidy landscape.

But a blooming catalpa is quite a sight, perhaps especially edging a wooded path. This one is at an entrance to the University Parks Trail in West Toledo.


I certainly am not capable of begrudging a few leaves, pods, or caterpillars, especially when the bloom clusters are the most tropical-looking things native to Ohio.


Wouldn't they look right at home in a rain forest?

Those gorgeous blossoms are also attractive to pollinators. A close look reveals guide marks for bees, helping them find their way where the plant wants them to go, which also happens to be where the bees get what they need. Not only gorgeous, but helpful.


Catalpas may be gaudy, but I would never call them trashy.

3 comments:

Jay Miller said...

First time I seen one, but it looks beautiful.

Rebecca said...

I have not noticed any in Parkersburg, but there is a young specimen in the Marietta Arboretum, and a large one in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Angela Tennant said...

They are most definitely beautiful trees. No trash there.