Need help identifying this tree

Asked August 1, 2017, 4:37 PM EDT

Good afternoon. There is a tree growing in my neighbors backyard that hangs over into my yard. I have lived in the area my entire life (40 years) and have never seen this tree before. It has long, hard pods on it and caterpillars all over it. The leaves are very large as well. I have asked some friends that are arborists to help identify this but they have failed. I have a friend that is from Jamaica and he said that it looks like a tree that would be found there, not here. He said that they refer to the pods as "chew sticks". Some can be sweet and some bitter. I have tasted the fruit of this and it is bitter and a bit spicy. Please help me to identify this tree. I live at 1333 Burlington Drive, Odenton, MD 21113. You may contact myself or my wife to discuss further. Scott & Mandi

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

This is a catalpa tree and the caterpillars are catalpa sphinx moths.

There is a southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) and a northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa). Both species are found in Maryland and both get these long pods.