princesstree USDA PLANTS Symbol: PATO2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Hardwood Trees
Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Scrophulariales: Scrophulariaceae
Synonym(s): princess tree, royal paulownia, royal empresstree
Native Range: China (REHD);

Appearance
Paulownia tomentosa is a medium sized tree (50-60 ft. [15.2-18.3 m] in height and 2 ft. [0.6 m] in diameter) that can commonly be mistaken for the native tree northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa). Bark is gray-brown and rough, often developing lighter-colored shallow vertical fissures.
Foliage
Leaves are large, broadly oval to heart-shaped (6-12 in. [15.2-30.5 cm] long, 5-9 in. [12.7-22.8 cm] wide) and arranged opposite along the stem, hairy on both surfaces. Petioles are also hairy and can be sticky when young. Leaves growing off root sprouts have been measured up to 2 ft. (0.6 m) in length. Twigs are stout, brown, and speckled with white dots (lenticels). They can be slightly hairy when young. Lateral leaf scars are somewhat round, becoming darker and sunken. The pith is chambered or sometimes hollow.
Flowers
Large flowers (2 in. [5.1 cm] long) are fragrant and light violet-pink, appearing in showy upright clusters (8-12 in. [20.3-30.5 cm] in length) in early spring (April-May) before leaves emerge. They have tubular corollas, ending in 5 unequal lobes. Flower buds are hairy and linear, becoming round.
Fruit
Fruits (1-2 in. [2.5-5.1 cm] long, 1-1.5 in. [2.5-3.8 cm] wide) are egg-shaped capsules, divided into 4 inner compartments that contain the seeds. Fruits are light green in the summer, becoming dark brown in the winter, and persist in clusters on the tree until the following spring. The capsules split in half during late winter to release up to 2000 tiny winged, wind-borne seeds 0.08-0.12 in. (2-3 mm).
Ecological Threat
Paulownia tomentosa is an aggressive tree that invades disturbed natural areas including forests, roadsides, and stream banks. It is native to China and was first introduced into the United States as an ornamental in 1840.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Flower(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
James R. Allison, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Feature(s); flowering mature tree located in Auburn University Arboretum in April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); immature fruit cluster and leaves in June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Stand; Planted stand
Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
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Tree(s); Plantation in Irwin county, Georgia. September.
Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Bark;
Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s); Growing out of a crack in a roadcut
Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
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Tree(s);
Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seedling(s);
Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Foliage; June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Twig(s)/Shoot(s); June
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s);
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Seedling(s);
David J. Moorhead, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org
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Tree(s);
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry , , Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry , , Bugwood.org
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Foliage; with hat for scale
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry , , Bugwood.org
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Foliage; on a car hood
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry , , Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 189.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Control;
Nancy Dagley, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org
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Foliage; Velvety underside of Paulownia leaf
Annemarie Smith, ODNR Division of Forestry, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Annemarie Smith, ODNR Division of Forestry, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Bark;
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Bark;
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s); in March
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (Virginia)
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina)
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia)
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)
George Washington Birthplace National Monument (Virginia)
Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina & Tennessee)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Monocacy National Battlefield Park (Maryland)
Petersburg National Battlefield (Virginia)
Prince William Forest Park (Virginia)
Richmond National Battlefield Park (Virginia)
Rock Creek National Park (Washington, D.C.)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Alabama Invasive Plant Council
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1994.
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group
Faith Campbell, 1998
Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 1994
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1998
Reichard, Sarah. 1994.  Assessing the potential of invasiveness in woody plants introduced in North America. University of Washington Ph.D. dissertation.
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Virginia Invasive Plant Species List