Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea'
Common names: Golden catalpa, Indian bean tree, cigar tree, Southern catalpa
Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea' was planted Aug. 30, 1975 for the opening of the Garden. When Roy Forster was asked a few years ago why he picked this tree, he replied, "It picked me!" He had been so busy getting the Garden finished that he had forgotten to put aside a tree for the tree-planting ceremony, and it was the only tree he could find at the last minute.
It is a magnificent tree with yellow-green leaves and panicles of white flowers in mid-summer. The bean pods are poisonous. Its parent, C. bignonioides is native to the American south, and the cultivar was introduced in the 1870s.
The photos of the first sign and the tree in 1985 are from the City of Vancouver Archives.