A row of catalpa trees in full bloom.
Origin of catalpaModern Latin ; from Creek katálpa uncertain or unknown; perhaps ; from ka-, combining form of iká, head + tálpa, wing: uncertain or unknown; perhaps so called from the shape of the flowers
Origin of catalpaCreek kata&lslash;pa : ka-, head + ta&lslash;pa, wing (from the shape of its flowers).
- Any tree of the genus Catalpa, the family Bignoniaceae. The two North American species, the southern catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides, and the northern catalpa, Catalpa speciosa — along with the yellow catalpa, Catalpa ovata, from China — are often planted as ornamentals because of their showy flowers and decorative bean pods, though others regard the bean pods as a nuisance.
A variant of catawba which originated when Scopoli, the describing botanist, incorrectly transcribed the name.
Sometimes alternatively said to derive from a Creek word like katałpa.