Contact Us Host an Event 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

Looking for non-native Chinese Pistache tree
April 23, 2015 - Where in the Austin area would be a good place to find a nice sized Chinese Pistache to plant in my yard?
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling early from red oaks.
October 08, 2007 - The leaves on my Texas red oaks are dropping off prematurely. This usually doesn't happen until late November/early December. I'm wondering if it has something to do with our wet summer, or if I sho...
view the full question and answer

Why are my lemon Cyprees trees turning Black?
April 01, 2010 - I have 3 lemon Cypress plants - all are about 6 feet tall. One of them has started turning black on one side - like it's been burnt. The inside of the plant is also turning black. I assume something ...
view the full question and answer

Safe branch length of oaks in Clayton NC
November 06, 2011 - I have 2 very large oak trees in my yard and I am concerned about the length of the branches over the house and driveway. Most seem larger than 4" in diameter. What is a safe length for these branc...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen thorny bush for California
May 01, 2010 - I need to find an evergreen thorny type bush, shrub or tree that will grow with about 3-4 hours of morning sun only. Prefer CA native, inland/semi coastal. Purpose: To provide a deterrent for "tag...
view the full question and answer

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