Thursday, October 28, 2010

Catalpa Tree at Rock Springs Plantation

The centerpiece of Rock Springs Plantation is this Catalpa tree. As my British friends say, I was just gobsmacked when I saw it.

There was a tour guide sitting on the back porch of the house as I circled around the tree taking pictures. I shouted out to him, “What type of tree is it?” He mumbled something that sounded like “cigar tree.” I wasn’t sure I heard him right, so I asked him to repeat it. And sure enough, he said it was a cigar tree.

Thank God for Google. A cigar tree is actually a Catalpa tree, in this case a Southern Catalpa tree. According to Wikipedia: "Catalpa is a genus of flowering plants in the trumpet vine family, Bignoniaceae, native to warm temperate regions of North America, the Caribbean, and east Asia" The fact that it is member of the trumpet vine family may account for the wonderfully contorted trunk. On the other hand, I can’t find any pictures of a Catalpa that is comparable to this one. There is a Catalpa that is growing horizontal to the ground at a golf course, but that seems to be the exception to the rule as is this one at Rock Springs Plantation.

The things you can find when you head off the beaten path. 

Or when you are absolutely stubborn and refuse to admit you're wrong.


moreidlethoughts said...

Great shots, Karen!
I'd say, looking at the saw marks and the close cropping(mowing) around the base that this poor thing was damaged in its youth!
Strong winds can have a corkscrew effect on young, sappy limbs, but often the worst scars come from the surface roots being scraped by lawn mowers!
Testament to the vigour of the tree that it continues at all.

PS Had a nest drama yesterday, but think I "fixed" things!

Susan said...

Wow ! great photos. Gotta love trees.
xo Susan & les Gang

Anyes said...

Hurray for you going off the beaten paths, Karen and giving us the chance to look at beautiful photographs of awesome looking trees... Thank you,

Karen said...

Di: That may be the best suggestion of why the trunk looks like it does. I couldn't find anything on the Internet that comes remotely close.

Susan: I adore trees. I wish I had more than 70 square feet of space and an already planted redbud tree or I'd plant a catalpa tree.

Anyes: It's probably more along the lines of being stubborn and refusing to admit that I'm wrong. But you can find the most wonderful places if you're willing to look.