The tree is useful as a shade tree in dry, hard-to-plant sites. Fragrant flowers appear in spring and last into early summer. The sweet scent is heavenly and envelops our entire backyard. Pollinators, including hummingbirds and bees, visit the flowers of the Northern Catalpa. The fruit is a long bean-shaped pod, 8 to 20 inches long. In the city the huge banana-like seed pods can become a messy, slippery, litter problem on sidewalks or on parked cars. In the country it's a non-problem; we never even notice the pod litter. All we see is a pretty tree.