Kim that is a really pretty tree!!! I don't think I've ever seen one before.
Genna I don't know about the princess tree but you may be thinking about the empress tree. That's what first came to my mind when I read the name. The empress tree does spread really bad. My DH ordered an empress as a surprise several years ago. I let it grow until it got about 5 ft tall and then a cut it down and dug up what I could. I could see that it was not going to be something we wanted to keep although it was supposed to have really pretty flowers.
I too wondered how this plant/tree can be valued in our home landscape. I've attempted to plant these trees before, then wound up having dug it up. Apparently it's very 'adabtible' a sliver of root was overlooked. Now I've a baby plant coming up from there.
Here are the seedpods I saw from those gorgeous trees. There are roughly 8 of them in the groove. Surprisingly I don't see littered baby trees in the vicinity.
Charlotte, from its look, see on the very first pic. on the post? The trunk is massive, anything but soft wood! That soft wood turns to hardwood when it mattures. Look at the trunk and compare it to the branch that bears the blooms. Very unusual beauty.
They do have a lot of seed pod. Mine would have been very close to my neighbor and they probably have ended up in their yard and not mine! LOL Don't think they would have been happy! When I dug mine up the trunk reminded me of a young brug. It was that soft. It looked nothing like other young trees I have planted.
After carefully sorting the pros. and cons. of these trees. I think I need to refrain from planting it in our property just to be a good neighbor to my community. lol. Although it's breath takingly beautiful a tree, but it's very messy with the spent blooms and the soft twigs laying underneath the trees. (see the first pic).
There are a couple of places around here that I have seen them - but everywhere I have ever seen them - there are a group of several trees... never just one. I wouldn't mind one - but don't want a bunch! :)
Beautiful though... just one of those things that I will admire in someone else's yard...
I have one that is blooming for the first time this year. I got so excited last fall when I saw buds. And then someone informed me that I'd have to wait til spring for the buds to open. OMG they're beautiful and they smell divine! I'm keeping mine and I have some seedlings I'm going to plant too.
You know the tradition, don't you? In China, when a baby girl is born, the Paulownia tree is planted. When the girl is planning to get married, the tree is cut down and the lumber used to make furniture, a trinket box and other items for the newlyweds. But never fear, the tree regrows quickly. It is actually harvested for furniture makers and valued because it can regrow in just a few years to be harvested again.
The first Paulownia trees were shipped over by a Chinese Emperor as a gift to one of our first Presidents (can't remember which one). I think they shipped 2000 of them or something. Anyway, they all died in transit. So the Emperor sent another batch with a man on hand to care for them in transit so they arrived alive and well.
Back before packing peanuts and popcorn, the seed pods of the Paulownia were used to cushion items that were freighted on trains. During transit, the pods would dry, burst open and the tiny seeds would flutter out thru the cracks in the crates and the open doors on the train cars. So way back when, the Paulownias often grew beside railroad tracks where their seeds landed.
I love the history of this ancient tree and what debris it leaves behind is worth the beauty and fragrance of the blooms. As far as I know, I'm the only one in my area who has one, and I treasure it. I received this tree in a trade a few years ago from a generous DGer. It arrived while I was in the hospital and it stayed in a box for a month before I was able to plant it. My brother mowed it down twice before I moved landscape timbers around it to keep his hungry riding mower off of it. Now it's about 10 or so ft tall--my miracle tree--surviving against all odds.
With all the "modern progress" and how contractors are bulldozing trees by the 100's to build new malls and subdivisions, I find it hard to believe any tree is invasive these days. I have one other tree on my property (an oak--why doesn't anyone ever say how invasive oak trees are? They keep popping up all over my flower beds.). All the property around me has been wiped bare in the name of progress. I now hear all the traffic from the highway because there is nothing separating me from the highway. If this tree is invasive in my area, I hope it quickly fills up all the land around me and drowns out the noise and the street lights shining into my house. LOL
There is a test plot of paulownia trees near here ... not sure what all they are testing for but I guess to see how rapidly they grow to harvest size. It has been amazing to watch them grow so quickly - but I have never seen blooms on them, so not sure if they are a different type or if they are not old enough yet. But they grew probably 20 - 25 ft in one yr - one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!!
I have never heard that story about planting the tree and then harvesting it when the girl marries... but sounds like a great tradition.
I myself, has read the story. It's highly a controversial plant indeed. To me it's like Wisterias or Kudzoos. Beautiful but prolific! Also, the beauty of the tree and bark doesn't reveal itself until the tree is mature. As a young tree. It's yucklllllyyyyy; look at this one. lol. I think this is roughly 5 years old. BTW, this one straddled b/w two of my neighbors' properties. It produced a few flowers a year or so ago. But odd enough. There is no flowers this year. Picture was taken yesterday. (disregard the evergreen Leland Cypress on the background).
It's just now leafing out, Lily. In a few weeks, the huge leaves will reveal themselves. I love the leaves. My tree looks much like that one right now, with a few blooms on it. Last summer, with no blooms but with the monstrous, shade-creating leaves, visitors fell in love with my tree.
I also grow wisteria. I think it's a wonderful plant if kept in check. It can be grown as a bush or a small tree even. But it does require work to keep it from re-seeding and from vining out everywhere and attaching to buildings. I'm currently building an arbor to move mine to. It's been in bloom for a couple of weeks now and is just amazing--well worth the extra effort.
I agreed, every pretty plant has its own unique merit. Wisterias I love them, but too much water in the surrounding could be a nightmare. Had anyone seen the Kudzu in blooms? They are pretty as well. But their presence in one's garden? I won't even go there.