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Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast

Princess Tree

Common Name: Princess Tree, Royal Paulownia

Scientific Name: Paulownia tomentosa

Identification: Princess Tree is a deciduous tree that may reach 60 feet in height and 2 feet in diameter.  The tree has large, heart-shaped, opposite, and very fuzzy leaves. The bark is light to dark gray and rough.  Fragrant, pale-violet, tubular-shaped flowers appear from April to May.  Pecan-shaped capsules, 1 to 2 inches long, appear from June to April and release tiny winged seeds in winter.

Ecology: Princess Tree is a rapid growing tree that colonizes by root sprouts.  Seeds are spread by wind and water.  This tree is common around roadsides, riparian areas, and forest edges.  Princess tree will invade following fire or mechanical disturbances.

Plant Control: Cut down large trees with a chainsaw and treat outer two inches of cut surface of stump with undiluted glyphosate concentrate (53.8% is preferable). Large saplings can be treated in a similar fashion, taking care to treat the entire cut surface.  If seed capsules are present on cut limbs, collect and bag these and dispose of in heavy garbage bag so they do not spread.  Monitor for seedlings and control as needed.

Alternative Native Species: Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera), Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata), Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)

When using herbicides remember to follow label-recommendations.  Any mention of trade, products, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University.

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