Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Empress Tree/Royal Paulownia
Paulownia tomentosa

Leaves are simple, opposite and deciduous, occasionally whorled on vigorous sprouts, heart-shaped, and wooly hairy below.  Twigs are stout and gray-brown with notched leaf scars. Bark is gray and smooth, becoming shallowly furrowed with age. Flowers are large, purple, trumpet-like in large, terminal clusters. Fruit is a "nut-like" capsule. Form is up to 15 m (50 ft) in height and has very rapid growth. The Empress tree is originally from China but has naturalized in open, disturbed areas in the eastern U.S.  In Asia, the wood is used for cabinets and furniture.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: