The tree is famous for its long seed pods that resemble beans or cigars. Despite the common name “bean tree”, this catalpa has no known edible uses. PFAF calls its roots highly toxic, but various medicinal teas have been made from its bark, seeds and pods, each targeting different ailments.
The “beans” have no known nutritional or savory properties. Although the fruits resemble bean pods (hence the name “Indian bean tree”), they are not typically eaten.
Common uses: fence posts, lumber, furniture and carvings.
This plant can often be found on old homesteads, even in the midst of apparent wilderness in the Pine Barrens, indicating earlier occupation. The name “Catalpa” comes from the Catawba Native American tribe of South Carolina, who smoked the bean pods. The pods are said to be hallucinogenic.
Catalpa also has several medicinal uses. It can be made into a tea which is an antidote for snake bites and has also been used as a laxative. Catalpa is also known as a mild narcotic used to cure “whooping cough”.
Catalpa seed pods turn brown in fall and burst open to release the mature seeds. Collect Southern Catalpa and Chinese Catalpa seed pods as they begin to open. These seeds are ready to sow outdoors after harvest, or you can store them in a cool, dry place for spring sowing.
Gather one or more northern catalpa seed pods in late winter, according to the University of Florida, or early spring. Collect the pods once they are completely dry. The pods turn a solid, dark brown color and rattle when shaken. Cut the ends of each pod with Lysol sterilized scissors and shake out the seeds.
Indian bean trees are also known as catalpa trees. The roots of Indian bean trees are highly toxic to dogs and humans.
Catalpa is often confused with softwood and is a pretty bad firewood. It only generates 16.4 million BTUs per cable after burn-in, mainly because it burns out very quickly. If you want a short fire in the warmer spring or fall months, Catalpa is perfect. Otherwise, use firewood, which generates more heat.
Catalpa is a soft, not very dense wood that is good to use as a starter or to relight a dying fire as long as it is completely dry.
Common catalpas have short, broad, crooked trunks of extremely soft, light, brittle wood that is unusable for fence posts and just about anything else, including firewood. p>
It’s usually deer proof. The name Catalpa derives from the name given to the tree by the Catawba Indian tribe of South Carolina, which is reported to have smoked the bean pods for a hallucinogenic effect, hence the names “Indian cigar tree”, “Indian bean ” and “smoking”. bean”.
The fruit is a long, thin, legume-like capsule, 20–40 cm long and 10–12 mm in diameter; it often gets stuck on the tree in winter (and can be confused with brown icicles). The pod contains numerous flat, light brown seeds with two papery wings.
Catalpa trees are easily propagated from seeds and cuttings, according to the JC Raulston Arboretum. Gather the seeds and plant them in a moist, full sun spot in the garden or in 1-gallon containers. Press the seeds into the soil, spacing them at least 6 inches apart
Definition of Catalpa
: any of a genus (Catalpa) of North American and Asian trees of the Bignonia family with pale showy flowers in terminal racemes.