Empress Tree – Paulownia tomentosa

Empress Tree Flowers

The 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.

The flowers have a delicate sweet fragrance. Flower aroma is reminiscent of vanilla

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.

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