Paulownia tomentosa

Common Name Foxglove Tree, Princesstree, Empress Tree, Royal Paulownia,
Family Scrophulariaceae
Synonyms P. imperialis. Sieb.&Zucc. P. recurva. Bignonia tomentosa.
Known Hazards The plant contains some potentially toxic compounds[222].
Habitats Woods, 1300 - 2000 metres in W. China[109].
Range E. Asia - China.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Bloom Color: Lavender. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Vase.

Physical Characteristics       
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Paulownia tomentosa is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The plant is self-fertile.

USDA hardiness zone : 6-9

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Paulownia tomentosa Foxglove Tree, Princesstree, Empress Tree, Royal Paulownia,
Paulownia tomentosa Foxglove Tree, Princesstree, Empress Tree, Royal Paulownia,
Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails[177, 183]. Flowers[177]. Eaten with miso[183].
Medicinal Uses

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Astringent;  Skin;  Vermifuge;  Warts.

A decoction of the leaves is used to wash foul ulcers and is also said to promote the growth of hair and prevent greying[218, 222]. The leaves are also poulticed onto bruises[218]. The leaf juice is used in the treatment of warts[218, 222]. The flowers are used in the treatment of skin ailments[178, 218]. A tincture of the inner bark is used in the treatment of fevers and delirium[218]. It is astringent and vermifuge[178, 218].
Other Uses
Charcoal;  Wood.

Wood - not attacked by insects. Used for making boxes, clogs, furniture, musical instruments etc. Good for posts and beams in construction[46, 61, 151, 178]. A source of charcoal[46, 61].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen. Requires a deep moderately fertile moisture retentive but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[11, 200]. Plants are tolerant of atmospheric pollution[200]. A very ornamental and fast growing plant[11]. The flower buds are formed in autumn and can be excited into premature growth during mild winter weather, this growth is then more susceptible to frost damage[1, 11]. The flower buds are hardy to about -15°c when dormant[200]. Plants, and especially seedlings less than 2 years old, are frost tender when young[11, 200]. They do not flower reliably in maritime zones, this is probably due to insufficient warmth and dryness in the summer[200]. Branches tend to be brittle[200]. The flowers have a delicate sweet fragrance[245]. Trees can be coppiced annually, they will then produce very vigorous growth with leaves up to 1 metre wide[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Blooms are very showy.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Sow stored seed in late winter in a greenhouse at 15 - 20°c[78]. The seed requires light for germination[200]. Fair to good germination. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a cold frame for its first year and plant out in late spring[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long in December. Good percentage


Additional information for Empress tree