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Tree Campus: Catalpa

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b



Catalpa bignonioides (BIGNONIACEAE)






"The larva of the catalpa sphinx caterpillar eats the leaves of the Southern Catalpa and can result in complete defoliation of the plant some years. The plant can also be killed by verticillium wilt, which in early stages cause the branches to die. Mildew is also a concern, coating the leaves, turning them yellow, and causing them to drop. The tree can also cause issues with other plants, due to the fact that it is an invasive, weedy tree. Not only does it easily escape cultivation, the flowers, seedpods and seeds create a mess on the ground near the tree." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Pioneer doctors used Catalpa seed pods and seeds to treat a variety of breathing and heart problems. Pods and seeds have been reported to possess antispasmodic, cardiac, and sedative properties. The juice from leaves and roots were used to treat eye swelling and infections. The bark was used to make tea and taken for swollen lymph nodes or as a treatment for malaria. Bark was also administered as a treatment for intestinal parasites. The plant is reported to have mild sedative and narcotic properties. Additionally, modern research show that catalpa pods and seeds have diuretic properties." [1]



"Due to its production of clusters of showy white flowers with purple and yellow markings, it is often planted as an ornamental shade tree... Modern industrial uses of Catalpa bignonioides include general construction work, interior finish, cabinetwork, fence posts, rails, and fuel. The tree is also used as an ornamental shade tree and planted in urban areas as a street and lawn tree. Southern Catalpa is planted in windbreaks for conservation purposes. Additionally, the tree is used to attract catalpa worm, which is harvested and used as fish bait." [1]



Kiani, S., & Perler, R. (2017, April 23). Yale Nature Walk: Catalpa. Retrieved from

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