The Royal Paulownia Tree (Paulownia tomentosa) is an ornamental tree with large leaves and showy flowers. It is also called the Princess Tree or the Empress Tree.
The purple trumpet-shaped flowers of Royal Paulownia Trees are about an inch long and hang in panicles as long as 1 foot. The heart-shaped leaves can be 16 inches long and 8 inches wide. The nut-like capsule contains up to 2,000 winged seeds.
Royal Paulownia Trees are native to China and were introduced to the United States in 1834 as ornamental trees. The trees are also grown commercially for export to Asian countries.
Japanese and Chinese craftsmen build furniture, cabinets, lacquered boxes and other gift items from the light strong wood of Royal Paulownia Trees. The wood has excellent resonance and timbre, and is used often in musical instruments.
Royal Paulownia Trees should be planted in full sun in well drained soil. They can withstand drought and salt spray, but can not tolerate shade, wind or wet soil.
Royal Paulownia Trees are considered weedy and may be invasive in some areas. They are prone to leaf spots, twig cankers and mildew. The bark is thin and easily wounded. Dropping leaves and fruits cause a litter problem.
Royal Paulownia Tree, Royal Empress Tree, Royal Princess Tree, Paulownia tomentosa
About this Author
Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.