The Q&A Archives: Information On Sapphire Tree

Question: I have a tree that I believe is called a Sapphire Tree. The first year it looked like a tall stalk with several single huge ("frisbee" like) leaves which it lost in the fall. The second year (this year) it is about 16 feet tall with many branches bearing multiple huge leaves. My neighbors tell me to wait 'til next year when the tree is to bear beautiful blue flowers. Where would I find more information on this tree?

Answer: Your tree is most likely the Paulonia, commonly called Princess tree, Empress Tree, and Sapphire Dragon Tree.

This is a fast growing tree currently being promoted as a fast growing, beautiful landscape tree, as well as a source of a lightweight, close-grained wood for the timber industry. Most of this promoting is done by companies offering the trees for sale. I have seen a 3-year-old tree and can attest to the very rapid rate of growth. However, like many rapid growing trees, its tends to have weak brittle wood. This could pose quite a problem in an ice storm.

The following web site is by a company with a vested interest in the trees:

The next site is in the Adobe Acrobat format (pdf format) and is from the Florida Extension Service:

Here is a third web site with more information:

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