This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
G. M. F., Henderson, Ky., writes: "I sowed, recently, a considerable quantity of Catalpa seeds for timber, and now 1 am told that there are two kinds, the White and the Yellow Catalpa, and that the white is of little value for durability. Can you tell me anything about this, as it would be very unfortunate for me, after waiting a number of years, to find I had made a mistake? I have read Mr. Barney's pamphlet, and I cannot learn from that that there is any difference in the durability of the timber of either kind, only that the one is more hardy than the other. That there is a difference in the durability of the two kinds of timber I believe. The timber known here as the White Catalpa is not so durable as the yellow, but, so far as I have been able to judge, the white and yellow timber are all from the same kind, - the white being from the younger and the yellow from older trees".
[We cannot say. The whole Catalpa question has been so mixed through the reckless statements of enthusiasts that it is difficult for the cool-headed investigator to understand the exact merits of the two varieties. For ourselves, we have become so puzzled that we have had to leave the whole matter to time to unravel. If what our correspondent supposes about the difference between the white and yellow wooded Catalpa be correct, it will be a fact against the supposed merits of the C. speciosa, as the eastern form is a very dark brown. We never saw any Catalpa wood that could be called " white," except the two outer annual rings of wood. Moreover, almost all of the facts in regard to the wonderful durability of Catalpa timber have been derived from experience with the eastern form. Raflnesque, over sixty years ago, refers to the then long known reputation for durability of Catalpa timber, - and this was before civilization had scarcely penetrated a forest beyond the Ohio River. Near where we write is a "Yellow" Catalpa timber gate-post, that, we have been informed, is some fifty years old.
Our correspondent will thus see that we shall have to determine which species is the "yellow" and which is the "white," or whether the same kind will be sometimes white or sometimes yellow, before we can correctly answer his questions. - Ed. G. M].