The Q&A Archives: Paulownia Tree

Question: I have heard that the Paulownia tree is an extremely fast growing tree, often reaching as high as 10' feet the first year. I'm looking for a fast growing shade tree to be planted on the north side of my house, which gets some sun. What do you think?

Answer: I think it's an excellent choice! A native of China, Paulownia tomentosa, also known as the Princess Tree or Empress Tree, is one of the world?s fastest growing trees. It is a member of the Dragon Tree Family in China. Chinese tradition held that a
Paulownia was planted at the birth of a daughter. When she was later married, the tree was harvested and its wood used to create something for her family. Planted as an ornamental shade tree, its timber has been used for hundreds of years for furniture, toys, buildings, musical instruments and packaging.

Paulownia has rough bark. Its light green heart-shaped deciduous leaves are very large ? sometimes 12 inches long and 7 inches wide. Formed in fall, its brown olive-shaped buds flower in spring. Blossoms, lilac blue with yellow inside, arrive before leaf out in the spring. The fragrant blossoms are held upright in clusters 6 to 12 inches long and last several weeks. Seed capsules shaped like tops remain after the flowers drop. Bees love Paulownia blossoms so honey is an added plus for this
versatile tree.

Paulownias grow well under adverse conditions including air pollution caused by smoke and dust, and are therefore valuable for cleaning the air; they also prevent soil erosion. As an addition to your garden, consider the Paulownia tree for its many wonderful possibilities all on the positive side.

Best wishes with your new tree!

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