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

Friday - July 12, 2013

From: Chambersburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?

ANSWER:

Please read this article from Ecosystem Gardening Native Alternatives to Invasive Paulownia Trees.

Paulownia tomentosa (Royal Empress) is a deciduous tree in the family Paulowniaceae, native to central and western China, but invasive in the USA. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area where those plants grow naturally; in your case, the borough of Chambersburg in South Central Pennsylvania. This places that tree out of our realm of expertise but we wanted to address your question in hopes it would discourage others from planting this non-native invasive tree.

From the Missouri Botanical Garden here is an article on Paulownia tomentosa, which said "No fall color." We found purple leaves mentioned nowhere else, although the flowers are purple.

 

More Trees Questions

Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
October 23, 2012 - I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
view the full question and answer

Shade Trees for Bullhead City, AZ
August 12, 2014 - We have a patio with 2 old (unused) fire pit cut-outs; about 4 ft wide each. The cut out is not lined with concrete or brick: just rimmed with the concrete on all sides. The center of the cut-outs i...
view the full question and answer

Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
July 25, 2010 - We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
view the full question and answer

Freeze-damaged Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
May 05, 2011 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) that is several years old. During this past winter, one of the freezes we had split one of the largest trunk right below the soil line. T...
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
view the full question and answer

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