Monday, April 26, 2010
Paulownia tomentosa - Empress Tree
Paulownia tomentosa: Paulownia, named for Russian Princess Anna Paulowna, daughter of Czar Paul I; tomentosa, meaning 'hairy' or 'wooly', referring to the lower leaf surface.
Very coarse, round headed tree. This fast-growing tree needs a lot of room. Blue to pale violet trumpet-shaped flowers with a yellow-striped throat in showy upright 6-12" panicles before leaf out. Compare to Jacaranda mimosifolia. Enormous cordate (heart-shaped) leaves with smooth upper surface and hairy undersides can grow to be as much as 12" long. Leathery seed pods start green and turn brown with maturity, cracking open to release lots of small winged seeds in fall. Seed pods can persist on the tree into winter. Shiny gray bark with reddish mottled fissures.