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

Saturday - September 26, 2009

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Empress trees in Beaumont TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to grow some Empress Trees in our yard. We have a huge yard and it is right on the corner of a cross street where they have just put a traffic light. People stopped at the light can see into our house. I understand they are invasive, without really knowing what that means. Please explain. I tried to find the information on the Texas Park and Wildlife website. I do not even know who to find out the information from.

ANSWER:

Paulownia tomentosa has several common names, including Empress Tree, Princess Tree and "Oh, no, not that." Please read this Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted site on the reasons why this tree is totally inappropriate for planting anywhere in North America. You didn't find it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website because it is so invasive, and can damage ecologies in many ways. And you won't find it on our website, either. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown. Introduced to the United States in 1840 as an ornamental plant, it is native to western and central China.

If you want more information on why NOT to grow this plant, go to this USDA National Invasive Species Information Center. There are a number more links on that site; you will soon learn that nobody, including people who unknowlingly planted it or unwillingly had it invade their property, likes this plant except the industry trying to sell it. You and anyone else not knowing what an invasive plant is should read this About.com: Landscaping Invasive Plants.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Growth rate of non-native Asclepias curassavica
April 29, 2014 - As a volunteer at the National Butterfly center, I wonder how long from starting the seeds until the plant reaches approximately 20 cm tall does it take a tropical milkweed (asclepias curassavica) to ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese Pistache tree with dead branches in Georgetown TX
April 08, 2010 - Have mature Chinese Pistachio tree with many dead branches and few buds forming so far this spring - has been beautiful for many years. Do you know why this is happening and what can be done about it...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for non-native purple fountain grass in Austin
September 26, 2009 - Hi-- Just found out that the purple fountain grass I bought (fortunately on sale) is a) not native and b)not perennial. Dang it! If I can find the pots I'm taking it back. I have a part-shade wel...
view the full question and answer

Growing a non-native lemon tree in Central Illinois
August 03, 2009 - How to grow a lemon tree in Central Illinois? Which one would be the best to grow?
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native bottle brush bush
September 12, 2008 - I have a bottle brush bush it has not bloomed. I have had it about 6 months planted in the ground. I am worried it may not. can you tell me what you think. thanks lori
view the full question and answer

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