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Empress Tree
Scrophulariaceae
Paulownia tomentosa


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree



Scrophulariaceae Family

Paulownia Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Princess Tree or Foxglove Tree; pao tong in Chinese; kiri in Japanese


Location

Native to central and western: In China, an old custom is to plant an Empress Tree when a baby girl is born. The fast-growing tree matures when she does. When she is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry. Carving the wood of Paulownia is an art form in Japan and China.

In legend, it is said that the Phoenix will only land on the Empress Tree and only when a good ruler is in power.



Physical Description
It grows to 10-25 m tall, with large heart-shaped to five-lobed leaves 15-40 cm across, arranged in opposite pairs on the stem. On young growth, the leaves may be in whorls of three and be much bigger than the leaves on more mature growth. The characteristic large size of the young growth is exploited by gardeners: by pollarding the tree and ensuring there is vigorous new growth every year, massive leaves are produced (up to 60cm across). These are popular in the modern style of gardening which uses large-foliaged and "architectural" plants.

The flowers are produced before the leaves in early spring, on panicles 10-30 cm long, with a tubular purple corolla 4-6 cm long resembling a foxglove flower. The fruit is a dry egg-shaped capsule 3-4 cm long, containing numerous tiny seeds. The seeds are winged and disperse by wind and water. Pollarded trees do not produce flowers, as these only form on mature wood.




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Scrophulariaceae
Lamiales
Lamiales
Tounge Order (Mints)
Euasterids I
Euasterids I
Real Stars Group One
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Princess tree was introduced into the U.S. as an ornamental and landscape tree around 1840. It was first imported to Europe in the 1830's by the Dutch East India Company and brought to North America a few years later. This tree has since become naturalized in the eastern U.S. and is also grown on the west coast

Princess tree is native to western and central China where historical records describe its medicinal, ornamental, and timber uses as early as the third century B.C. It was cultivated centuries ago in Japan where it is valued in many traditions. Recently it has also been grown in plantations and harvested for export to Japan where its wood is highly valued. It has been harvested to extinction in Japan, one of its earliest habitats.

A decoction of the leaves is used to wash foul ulcers and is also said to promote the growth of hair and prevent graying. The leaves are also poulticed onto bruises. The leaf juice is used in the treatment of warts. The flowers are used in the treatment of skin ailments. A tincture of the inner bark is used in the treatment of fevers and delirium. It is astringent and vermifuge

Leaves - cooked. An emergency food, used

when all else fails. Flowers. Eaten with miso





Empress Tree
Flowers



Empress Tree
Flower close up



Empress Tree
Flowers



Empress Tree
Tip of leafy branch, new growth



Empress Tree
Young Tree



Empress Tree
Open, and empty seedpod



Empress Tree
Seedpod



Empress Tree
Bark

Comment: Empress Tree, Paulownia tomentosa

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