How to Harvest Catalpa Tree Seeds From Beans

Catalpa trees have lovely, heart-shaped leaves.
Catalpa trees have lovely, heart-shaped leaves. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The catalpa is a large tree, grown as an accent planting or for shade. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 8, catalpa trees thrive in moist soil, in full sun to partial shade. Fall and winter finds the tree in full fruit, which resembles long string beans. The pods will open spontaneously when they ripen, but the seeds will either be scattered on the wind or lost on the ground. Collect the pods in late fall or early winter before they open.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Glass jar

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Lay the catalpa seed pods on a concrete floor, such as in the garage or a carport or driveway and walk over them. Horticulturists with Colorado State University warn that you should not bear down hard or stomp, as you walk, but walk over the pods enough to break them open.

Gather the winged catalpa seeds and place them in a bowl.

Separate the seeds from the chaff and put them in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store the seeds until the spring when they can be planted into the garden.


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