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

Non-native crape myrtle resistance to deer from Annapolis MD
April 06, 2013 - Is Crape Myrtle tree resistant to deers? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

When and how to prune lavender (Lavandula sp.)
March 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I have a Goodwin Creek Lavender plant that I planted last year. It did very well but my question is about pruining. It seems that there is some growth coming up now that it...
view the full question and answer

Did Mexican fire bush (Hamelia patens) survive winter cold?
May 05, 2010 - I have a Mexican fire bush that I planted last spring and it bloomed beautifully last summer. It browned and we cut it back to the ground. Right now it's showing no signs of life and I'm afraid it m...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Centaurium spicatum, family gentianceae
January 21, 2008 - I need to know every single detail about centaurium spicatum family gentianceae.
view the full question and answer

Florist Gloxinia Care
October 01, 2015 - Got a florist gloxinia and it was doing great for months. Went on vacation and returned; it was wilted. Think son watered it too much. Allowed it to dry. It has some new leaves forming on the very leg...
view the full question and answer

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