En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - August 23, 2007

From: Riverhead, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Distribution of Non-Native Royal Empress Tree
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I was wondering if you could give me the statistics for the Royal Empress Tree in the Long Island area. I have two and have read numerous articles online regarding them being invasive through the root system and seed pods that will sprout after the purple/blue flowers in the spring. The trees I have are approx 2 years old. What is the reproduction rate (invasiveness) on Long Island for this kind of tree? Any information you could give me regarding care, maintance, and removal would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

Empress Tree (Paulownia tormentosa), aka Princess Tree, is native to China, and is distributed in 25 states in the US from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas. In most of its range, it is considered an invasive plant. However, the Invasive Plant Council of New York State does not list it as such, but the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England does.

As you have probably noticed from your two plants, growth is very rapid. Your plants could become reproductive in six to eight years, and at that time, each could potentially produce 20 million seeds a year. That could result in a lot of seedlings.

An article from the Plant Conservation Alliance describes the biology of the plant along with measures to control its growth. More detailed information about care of Paulownia is available at this website.

If you plan to remove your princess trees, you might consider these native alternatives:

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Will a non-native smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, be harmful in Utah
May 08, 2009 - Can one plant a smoke tree in Utah without causing and harm to the environment? I'm worried that this plant may be a species that could cause a problem since I believe it is not a native plant.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for property in Oaxaca Mexico
January 17, 2011 - I don't know if you can help me with this. I am building a house in Oaxaca Mexico, and I want to use native plants in the landscape. We are on the coast where it stays warm all the time. Do you kn...
view the full question and answer

Care of non-native Sorbaria sorbifolia (false spiraea)
August 24, 2010 - I have 2 Sorbaria sorbifolia (false spiraea) that will not flower. This is their third summer. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Why aren't my Forsythias blooming in Stone Mountain, GA?
March 24, 2010 - We have a large forsythia stand that has bloomed beautifully for 14 years in a row. Two summers ago I cut them way back in July. For the past two years they have only leafed out, no, or very few bloom...
view the full question and answer

Does NPIN include non-native plant species?
September 03, 2009 - I'm writing a book on the plants eaten by 12th century Indians of Florida. I'd like to use your site for some of my research. You say all of your plants are native, but then under some listings (wil...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center