Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.

  • Family: Scrophulariaceae (figwort)
  • Common name: princess tree

    Tree to 12 m (40 ft) tall and 30 cm (12 in) in diameter, with open spreading crown. Bark scaly, dark brown to gray. Twigs smooth, brown, with prominent white lenticels. Flower buds develop in the Fall and are large and conspicuous in clusters through the Winter. Leaves opposite, broadly ovate, 15-40 cm (6-16 in) long and 10-20 cm (4-8 in) wide. acuminate, cordate, light green above, pale and densely hairy below. Flowers numerous, blue-violet, about 5 cm (2 in) long, in large panicles, blooming before leaves appear in early Spring. Fruits egg-shaped brown capsules about 4 cm (1.5 in) long with many small winged seeds, maturing in Fall.

    Distribution: Native to eastern Asia. Widely planted and escaped in most of the temperate regions of the world.
    Habitat: Roadsides, old fields, forest margins.
    NWI status: UPL
    Comment: Paulownia is named for Anna Paulownia (1795-1865), Princess of the Netherlands; tomentosa refers to the densely hairy undersurface of the leaves.

    Distribution in Oklahoma: This species has been observed growing on vacant lots in urban areas in Oklahoma, but there are no specimens in the Bebb Herbarium from rural areas of the state. It may become naturalized in eastern Oklahoma.

    Last update: 9/15/99
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