Notice: Atrium is currently undergoing maintenance. During this time, some or all images may not be displayed.

Family: Bignoniaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Scrophulariales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • CATALPA - English, United States of America
  • TRUMPETVINE FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Shrubs, trees, or woody vines with large showy flowers in racemes, panicles, or axillary clusters; corollas sympetalous, tubular, bilaterally symmetrical, with 2 or 4 separate, epipetalous stamens; capsules usually large, woody, with winged seeds. The family shares a number of characters with the Scrophulariaceae (e.g., corolla shape, number of stamens) and the two are apparently related; however, all nc TX scrophs are herbs.

Diagnosis: Ours shrubs, trees, or woody vines; leaves opposite or the uppermost alternate, simple or pinnately compound, entire, toothed, or lobed; flowers rather large and showy, in terminal panicles or spike-like racemes, or in axillary clusters; calyces short, 2-lipped or unequally 4- to 5- toothed; corollas campanulate to funnelform, radially symmetrical to bilabiate, 5-lobed; stamens 2 or 4; pistil 2-carpellate; style and stigma 1; fruit a capsule; seeds numerous, winged.


Notes: A medium-sized (750 species in 109 genera), mainly tropical family centered in n South America; nearly all species are woody, ranging from numerous lianas to trees and shrubs, or rarely herbs; it includes showy tropical ornamentals such as Crescentia (CALABASH-TREE), Jacaranda, Kigelia (SAUSAGETREE), Spathodea (AFRICAN-TULIPTREE, FLAMETREE), and Tabebuia (POUI) as well as some valuable for timber including Tabebuia. Tecoma stans (L.) Juss. ex Kunth, (genus: from tecomaxochitl, a Mexican name; species: erect, upright), TRUMPET-FLOWER, a yellow- flowered small shrub (< 1 m tall), known mainly from the Trans-Pecos, was reported by Hatch et al. (1990) from vegetational area 4 (Fig. 2); this is apparently based on a collection near San Antonio (Correll & Johnston 1970) well to the s of nc TX. (subclass Asteridae)