Royal Paulownia

Paulowina tomentosa
(Princess Tree)

The Royal Paulowina could help our balance of trade with Japan. The wood, which is not used in our country, is highly prized in the Orient. The Japanese especially like it for tableware, rice pots, and sandals. It is easily like grown in the lower third of the United States. Growing eight to ten feet a year, it is the fastest growing commercial wood we have. Here, the growth is restricted by the stone wall. The short trunk spreads into angled branches which support the fragrant flowers and brown seed pods. The pale purple flowers are bell-shaped and grow in tall, upright clusters. The seeds are held in large, egg-shaped capsules in the same upright position and remain on the tree through-out the winter. Each capsule can hold up to 2,000 seeds. In spite of the beautiful flowers, the tree is scorned in landscape plantings, because it is always shredding leaves, seed pods, and the woody stems the seed pods are borne on.