Paulownia (Princess Tree) – Identification and Control

Q: This plant popped up (and how!) and is still growing. What in the world is it?

A: In a “Biggest Leaf” contest, the prize almost always goes to Princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa). It has huge leaves, especially on young plants or on stumps that have resprouted.

A paulownia leaf has no lobes and looks like a big green heart.

I do not recommend paulownia as a landscape tree because the limbs are so brittle and prone to breaking. Most folks consider it a weed.

The purple flowers in spring are attractive, like upside-down wisteria, but they produce a multitude of nuts that sprout in every crack and crevice in your landscape.

The best way to control it is to cut the tree at the base and immediately spray the cut stump heavily with glyphosate (click for sources) or triclopyr (click for sources).

Paulownia (Princess Tree)

paulownia leaf

paulownia juvenile leaf

paulownia seeds

paulownia seeds

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