En EspaÑol

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

Monday - September 22, 2008

From: Paw Paw, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Information about invasive Paulownia tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What genus and species and family is this Royal Paulownia tree I hear about? Is it Elm? Linden? Dogwood? Is it a weed? thank you

ANSWER:

Paulownia tomentosa (royal princess tree), a native of China, is a member of the Family Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family).  There are no trees native to North America that are in this family—elm is in the Family Ulmaceae, linden is in the Family Tiliaceae, and dogwood is in the Family Cornaceae.  A few familiar North American plants in the Family Scrophulariaceae are:  the paintbrushes (Genus Castilleja), the monkey-flowers (Genus Mimulus) and the louseworts (Genus Pedicularis).

Mr. Smarty Plants certainly considers it a weed!  Please note what Texas Invasives says about it: 

"Princess tree is an agressive ornamental tree that grows rapidly in disturbed natural areas including forests, streambanks, and steep rocky slopes."  

It is also is listed in the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, in the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Working Group Least Wanted list and the Federal and State Noxious Weeds list.

If you are considering planting a royal paulownia tree, we urge you to consider these native alternatives:

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)


Amelanchier arborea

Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Ilex opaca

Morus rubra

Lindera benzoin

Sassafras albidum

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Native plants threatened by invasives in Oklahoma?
September 28, 2010 - What are some native plants in Oklahoma that are being threatened by invasive species?
view the full question and answer

Removal of Ashe juniper trees
April 19, 2015 - I have 15 acres with scattered huge oak and elm trees with tens of thousands of Ashe Juniper (cedar) trees 2” to 10” in diameter growing within the drip zone of the hardwoods. How do I take out the c...
view the full question and answer

Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
December 18, 2011 - I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over ...
view the full question and answer

About Salvia superba
January 09, 2006 - About 10 years ago, nurseries were offering a small salvia, called salvia superba or meadow sage. A few years later, "May Night" and "Blue Hill" appeared on the market similar to this first sal...
view the full question and answer

Invasive horsetail in Etna NH
July 27, 2009 - I seem to have an increasingly "healthy" supply of Equisetum in ALL of my many gardens over the years .. it is not easy to get all the rhizomes (what is?) is it possible to control it some other way...
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