The Northern Catalpa, sometimes called a Catawba tree, is primarily used today as a large ornamental shade tree–lovely flowers too!
Settlers planted Catalpa to produce fence posts…the wood is lightweight, and the heartwood is resistant to deterioration when placed in the ground. For these same reasons, railroad companies grew plantations of them for railroad ties and fuel.
Me? I just like to sit under ‘em and have a talk with Our Lord.
Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB is an Advanced Master Gardener with over thirty-five years experience in the green industry and leads workshop and retreats. She is the coordinator emeritus of the St. Francis Retreat Center Garden Society, a monthly columnist at CatholicMom.com and blogs about gardening and spirituality at Patheos.com.