Thank you, Wiki, to whom I contribute to, for my lead-in for this Blog.
Paulownia (/pɔːˈloʊniə/ paw-LOH-nee-ə) is a genus of seven to 17 species of hardwood tree (depending on taxonomic authority) in the family Paulowniaceae, the order Lamiales. They are present in much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam and are long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea.
It was introduced to North America in 1844 from Europe and Asia where it was originally sought after as an exotic ornamental tree. Its fruits (botanically capsules) were also used as packaging material for goods shipped from East Asia to North America, leading to Paulownia groves where they were dumped near major ports. The tree has not persisted prominently in US gardens, in part due to its overwintering brown fruits that some consider ugly. In some areas it has escaped cultivation and is found in disturbed plots. Some US authorities consider the genus an invasive species, but in Europe, where it is also grown in gardens, it is not regarded as invasive.
The genus, originally Pavlovnia but now usually spelled Paulownia, was named in honour of Anna Paulowna, queen consort of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. It is also called “princess tree” for the same reason.
Paulownia trees produce as many as 20 million tiny seeds per year. However, the seeds are very susceptible to soil biota and only colonize well on sterile soils (such as after a high temperature wildfire). Well-drained soil is also essential. Successful plantations usually purchase plants that have been professionally propagated from root cuttings or seedlings. Although seeds, seedlings, and roots of even mature trees are susceptible to rot, the wood is not and is used for boat building and surfboards.
Trees can grow to maturity in under 10 years and produce strong, lightweight timber, good as firewood, with an even higher strength to weight ratio than balsa wood. Its density is low at around 0.28 kg/liter, although significantly higher than balsa’s very low 0.16 kg/liter.
My Paulownia tree was planted about fifteen years ago from seed. The tree appeared to die off that first year, and when I did the first mowing, what little I had left, I mowed over it. Throughout the mowing season, if there was any growth, it was cut. After that first year, it grew with a vengeance, underground, it must have been doing things I was unaware of. The tree has been growing ever since.
We had one winter back some years ago with a lot of ice. If you can pick out the difference of the right side of the tree, that side faces North. Several limbs broke off that year, and it remains vacant today.
Today, 18 November 2022, was our first frost. The temperature dropped to 28f, and the Princess started dropping her leaves. Historically the tree drops her leaves beginning on the first frost. After conferring with Mrs., we both believe this is our latest first frost here on Marylands Eastern Shore.
I’m guessing Al Gore would say Global Wahttps://www.conserve-energy-future.com/al-gore-and-global-warming.phprming.
History of Paulownia
The below information is from the site – https://paulowniatrees.org/about/about-the-paulownia-tree/
Paulownia wood has been used in Japan for centuries primarily as a furniture wood. Wooden chests of drawers called Tansu are made from this wood and nearly every Japanese home has a Tansu of solid Paulownia, or sliced Paulownia veneer glued on a Lauan plywood. Other uses of the wood include musical instruments called Koto, wooden clogs called Geta, ornamental carvings, wooden bowls and spoons, bas relief panels, and large and small gift boxes. While the Japanese do not consider this tree “Holy”, the wood is held in reverence by those who work with the tree, possibly due to the ability of the tree to regenerate from its own root. This, coupled with its resistance to rot and its freedom from checking and cracking, may account for this reverence.
Properties of Paulownia
Paulownia is 30% lighter than any comparable American hardwood, falling mid-way between balsa and poplar. The wood weighs between 15 and 19 pounds per cubic foot air-dried. The tree will not rot when felled in the forest unless it is touching a contaminant of some sort. The lumber can be air dried in as little as 60 days in racks or kiln dried to 10% – 12% moisture in five to seven days.
Logs may be debarked, milled into lumber, exported, or used in established domestic markets. U.S.-based markets are being developed continuously and account for over 80% of all timber harvested domestically. Water and snow sports products make up much of the current usage, and marine-grade plywood production efforts are well underway.
I’ve enjoyed trees like this along I-40 through the gorge on the NC-TN border. I’m happy to know they can be used, unlike the now-discredited Bradford Pear.