Chitalpa x tashkentensis Summer Bells, also known as the Desert Willow, is a rather fantastic hybrid of Catalpa and Chilopsis; the original work for the cross was performed at the Uzbek Academy of Science in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the 1960’s.
Introduced into Europe, and internationally, a decade later, this stunning small hybrid tends to be grown up with a 1.8-2m clear stem and rounded crown on the top.
The foliage is bright green, leaves tending to be fairly thin, elongated and abundant, like large willow leaves, hence the connection with the common name, Desert Willow.
The exotic flowers appear in June/July, they are profuse and a frilly trumpet shape, light pink in colour with yellow throats. These flowers tend to persist on the tree for the remainder of the summer. In autumn the bright green leaves turn yellow.
Whilst Chitalpa x tashkentensis Summer Bells is hardy to the UK climate, it is best planted with a sheltered aspect, in full sun and on well drained soils.
Being a small, round headed tree at maturity, this stunning specimen is the perfect choice for small gardens where summer interest is of key importance.
Being such an unusual and pretty specimen also makes the Desert Willow a fine addition to arboretum collections.
Mature Height: 3-7m