Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Dying branches on non-native buddleias in Horseshoe Bend TX
September 19, 2010 - Our Black Knight buddleias are developing branches that die. The leaves just turn brown and the whole branch dies then another and finally the whole plant dies. Do you know what could be causing this...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native podocarpus Cupertino CA
May 22, 2011 - I recently planted a podacarpus granular and over half the leaves are turning yellow some are dead. What could be the problem? Is there something I can feed it? What should I do? I planted four & the...
view the full question and answer

Will frozen non-native agapanthus come back from freeze in Austin?
February 06, 2011 - I don't know if its a native plant, but my agapanthus got frozen in our recent cold weather. Will they come back; should I trim off the tops?
view the full question and answer

Teucrium resistant to Verticillium Wilt?
April 20, 2015 - Is Teucrium frutescans, or Bush Germander resistant to Verticillium Wilt? I cannot find it on a list anywhere.
view the full question and answer

Non-native and invasive bamboos from Staten Island, NY
May 19, 2013 - Hi I put some black Bamboo and some bias Bamboo in a large container about 6ft by 2ft and ht 18 inches .How can I get this Bamboo to thrive ? Suggestions on types of plant food or fertilizer or ant t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.