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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - May 13, 2010

From: Lawerence, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Should non-native Royal Empress tree be planted in Lawrence MA?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am researching the Royal Empress Tree because I want to plant one in my yard in Massachusetts. I wanted to know if the Royal Empress will have rapid reproduction and bring more Empress trees to the area.

ANSWER:

Before we answer your question, let us tell you what we know about the tree. It is variously called "Royal Empress," "Royal paulownia" and "Princess Tree." It is called a lot of other things by people who either inherited this tree in their yards, bought and planted one, or had one planted by seedlings. However, this is a family website and we can't repeat those things. 

Begin by reading, from the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted : Royal Paulownia - Princess Tree - Royal Empress Tree - Paulownia tomentosa.

We would also like for you to read the comments on this Dave's Garden forum site on Paulownia tomentosa, in particular, the 7 negative comments. Notice the comments about it showing up in disturbed ground, and about the roots breaking up foundations, just from a seed that caught on the corner of that foundation and grew into a tree. Considering this tree is purported to grow 8 ft. a year, and that most trees have root system circumferences of 2 to 3 times the height of a tree, we would say your sidewalks, house foundation and maybe the next-door neighbor's foundations are all at risk. If you do plant it, and let it go to seed, you will not be popular in your neighborhood or area for bringing it in.

Our take on this is that you should not introduce this non-native invasive plant to your landscape or anyone else's. We understand that, as it gets older, it looks pretty ugly, and has spread a lot of seedlings all over the yard, neighborhood, state. It is very difficult to get rid of. The best way we know of to get rid of it is don't plant it!

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Evergreen grasslike plants for Austin TX
April 15, 2008 - Hi, I'm in Austin, TX and looking for some evergreen grass-looking plants. Would you explain the similarities/differences between Butterfly Iris and Lily Grass in this regard? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Reference for native critical populations from York, PA
May 25, 2010 - I have recently read a naysayer of native gardening. He states that native garden plants usually do not have the critical population size to be self-perpetuating. He says that one could better help t...
view the full question and answer

Italy in Texas
July 02, 2008 - Just want to clear up that I'm not in Italy, VERMONT. I'm in Italy, TEXAS. I don't know how the state slot changed from TX to Vermont, but please, I'm like you, lets just stick to TEXAS !
view the full question and answer

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