Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Purple Flowering Tree

Since we've moved in here, we've been admiring the rapidly growing tree with giant leaves, located at the north end of the labyrinth.

A few days ago, we noticed it had delicate pale purple trumpet flowers, near the top of the tree.

A little detective work identified it as a "Princess Tree" or "Empress Tree" (Paulownia Tomentosa) which is actually native to China and South-east Asia. Although a bit of an "exotic" tree, this area would be considered part of its normal range.

Here in the US, it's actually considered to be an "invasive" species, as well as rated rather "messy" by many horticulturalists. Evidently, they are all but impossible to get rid of, once they have become established, and if you cut one down, it tends to come back with 100's of shoots from the roots. And not just "a little bit," but for years after the tree was cut down. The 2-foot long seed pods are also extremely messy.

That said, it's also quite popular for use in parks and decorative landscaping, being quite pretty as well as fast growing. I suppose we'd better keep our eyes on it, as these trees can grow to some 80 feet in height!

For the moment, though, we're just enjoying the pretty flowers.

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