The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Catawba trees Bignoniaceae

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Nat. Ord. (Natural Order) Bignoniace�. Lin. Syst. (Linnean System) Diandria, Monogynia. A native of nearly all the states south and west of Virginia, this tree has become naturalized also throughout the middle and eastern sections of the Union, where it is generally planted for ornament. In Carolina it is called the Catawba tree, after the Catawba Indians, a tribe that formerly inhabited that country; and it is probable that the softer epithet now generally bestowed upon it in the north, is only a corruption of that original name. The leaves of this tree are very large, often measuring six or seven inches broad; they are heart-shaped in form, smooth, and pale green on the upper side, slightly downy beneath. The blossoms are extremely beautiful, hanging, like those of the Horse-chestnut, in massy clusters beyond the outer surface of the foliage. The color is a pure and delicate white, and the inner part of the corolla is delicately sprinkled over with violet, or reddish and yellow spots; indeed, the individual beauty of the flowers is so great when viewed closely, that one almost regrets that they should be elevated on the branches of a large forest tree. When these fall, they are succeeded by bean-like capsules or seed-vessels, which grow ten or twelve inches long, become brown, and hang pendent upon the branches during the greater part of the winter.