The Contorted Catalpa From Across the Street

Here ya go, Joan — the tree from farther away:

Here is a shot of the very beautiful orchid-like flowers of that catalpa tree:




Filed under Photos, Quincy, Uncategorized

11 responses to “The Contorted Catalpa From Across the Street

  1. Joan

    Very nice, Larry. The tree remains beautiful despite it’s crooked trunk. I don’t know if we have that species around here. It’s amazing how just a little difference in latitude and climate produces different vegetation.

  2. Oh, you have that species down there in the St. Louis area; it’s really more of a southern tree, but people have quit planting catalpas because they are messy and untidy. They have long seed-pods which annoy people — more yard litter to clean up. I’ve never seen this, but the pods can be used as fish bait, can ya believe it?

  3. Virginia

    Hannibal had a lot of beautiful catalpa trees when I was a child. I remember people complaining about how dirty they were as they persistently dropped flowers, seed pods, and leaves. The kids called catalpas “elephant ear” trees or “cigar” trees depending on the season. They are still beautiful to me.

  4. Hannibal still has quite a few nice catalpa trees; they grow quickly and it costs money to have them removed. I’ve never heard the appellation “elephant ear” before, though! The tree does have very large leaves, so I do understand the metaphorical name.

  5. Joan

    That’s funny, Virginia. We lived right in the heart of town in Hannibal, and someone had planted maple trees all along the gangway, so I was not familiar with ‘cigar trees.’ The choice of what they plant next to the street in that narrow grassy area is always interesting to me. Brentwood made the horrible mistake of planting sweetgums along here, and both the city and the citizens have been suffering ever since. Sidewalks uprooted. People stumbling on the ever-falling prickly critters, and rake, rake, rake, not just in autumn but seemingly forever. They are still falling. I’d trade the cigar trees any year for these. A few years ago the city uprooted a sweetgum for a sewer repair and replaced it with an fledgling oak tree which had baseball glove sized leaves. Looked like a teenager who had not grown into it’s appendages. These truly looked like elephant ears. (grin) I was enraged, because we are supposed to be able to choose, and it was a mess. I whined enough that they finally gave me a red maple, which is slow growing, and has nice small leaves.

  6. I agree, Joan, that sweet gum trees are annoying immigrants from southern riverine forests. “Prickly critters” indeed! I hate stepping on them; they are just big enough to perturb your balance. There are several of those trees planted along Maine St. between 24th St. and 30th St. here in Quincy. St. Peter’s Catholic Church actually has to hire landscape contractors a couple of times every year just to sweep up the seed-balls.

    Red maples, especially the cloned hybrid varieties commonly planted these days (“Autumn Blaze” and such), in my experience grow quickly. They have a lovely autumn leaf coloration, sort of a gray-tinged rose-purple.

  7. Joan

    I feel for your street crews also, Larry. Yes, the red maple grows sort of quickly but in comparison with the Burr Oak which they tried to palm off on me, it’s much more suitable for the area, and so far has not overwhelmed.
    BTW I was inspired by your cool Catalpa alliteration up there soooo:

    A contorted Catalpa in Quincy
    Sported flowering foliage, not chintzy
    Should be rendered in paint
    But landscapist I ain’t
    How I envy the work of Da Vinci .

  8. Nice one, Joan! If Edward Lear were still alive he’d be envious. Lear painted some very nice bird paintings. Check him out on Wikipedia.

  9. Virginia

    Joan, There were nice catalpas on Lyon and Church Streets years ago. I remember them from walks to the Hannibal Public Library

  10. Some of those trees are still there, Virginia!

  11. I wonder, Joan, if Quincy has ever been rhymed with Da Vinci before now?

    Joan, a rhymer venturing forth into unknown metrical lands…

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