Catalpa ovata

Catalpa ovata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Bignoniaceae
Genus: Catalpa
Species: C. ovata
Binomial name
Catalpa ovata

Catalpa kaempferi Siebold & Zucc.[2][3][4]

Catalpa ovata, the yellow catalpa[1][5] or Chinese catalpa[1] (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), is a pod-bearing tree native to China. Compared to C. speciosa, it is much smaller, typically reaching heights between 20 and 30 feet. The inflorescences form 4–10-inch-long (100–250 mm) bunches of creamy white flowers with distinctly yellow tinging; individual flowers are about 1 inch wide. They bloom in July and August.[5] The leaves are very similar in shape to those of Paulownia tomentosa, having three lobes (two are abruptly truncated on either edge, with a third, central, slightly acute, pointed lobe forming the leaf apex), and are darkly green.[5][6] Fruits are very narrow, foot-long pods.[5]

Although native to the more temperate provinces within China (Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Monggol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang),[1] C. ovata is also cultivated in North America and Europe.[1][5] It is commonly used to make the undersides of qin.[7]


The plant contains dehydro-alpha-lapachone[8] (DAL) which inhibits vessel regeneration, interferes with vessel anastomosis, and limits plexus formation in zebrafish.[9] DAL also controlled the development of the fungi rice blast, tomato late blight, wheat leaf rust, barley powdery mildew and red pepper anthracnose (Colletotrichum coccodes (Wallr) S Hughes). The chemical was particularly effective in suppressing anthracnose.[10]


Referenced in the Zhuangzi.[11]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Gen. hist. 4:230. 1837 GRIN (January 13, 2009). "Catalpa ovata information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  2. 1 2 Gen. Hist. iv. 230. "Plant Name Details for Catalpa ovata". IPNI. Retrieved December 7, 2009. Notes: =Kaempferi
  3. Abh. Akad. Muench. iv. III. (1846) 142. "Plant Name Details for Catalpa kaempferi". IPNI. Retrieved December 7, 2009. Notes: Japon
  4. "Catalpa ovata - G.Don". Plants For A Future. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Phillips, Roger (1978). Trees in Britain, Europe and North America. Cavaye Place, London, England: Pan Books Ltd. p. 96. ISBN 0-330-25480-4.
  6. Phillips, Roger (1978). Trees in Britain, Europe and North America. Cavaye Place, London, England: Pan Books Ltd. p. 42. ISBN 0-330-25480-4.
  7. Yeung, Juni (2010). Standards for the Guqin February 2010 Draft. Toronto: Toronto Guqin Society.
  8. Dehydro-alpha-lapachone
  9. Garkavtsev I, Chauhan VP, Wong HK, Mukhopadhyay A, Glicksman MA, Peterson RT, Jain RK.,"Dehydro-alpha-lapachone, a plant product with antivascular activity." Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Jul 12;108(28):11596-601
  10. Cho, JY; Kim, HY; Choi, GJ; Jang, KS; Lim, HK; Lim, CH; Cho, KY; Kim, JC (2006). "Dehydro-alpha-lapachone isolated from Catalpa ovata stems: Activity against plant pathogenic fungi". Pest management science. 62 (5): 414–8. doi:10.1002/ps.1180. PMID 16550502.

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