Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Paulownia tomentosa
(Thunberg) Steudel, Paulowniaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

Reject, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment (Australia))
High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: mao pao tong

English: Chinese empress tree, empress tree, foxglove tree, karri tree, princess tree, royal paulownia

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Gray-barked tree up to 15 m high; leaves entire or slightly lobed, 1.5-4 (on sprouts "5) dm broad; calyx 1-1.5 cm long, rusty-pubescent, with obtuse lobes; corolla about 5 cm long, violet, with yellow stripes within, glandular on the outside; capsule 3-4 cm long"  (Fernald, 1950; p. 1273).

Habitat/ecology:  Roadsides, clearings and borders of woods.  "Seedlings colonize rocky cliffs and sandy stream banks, quickly invading after disturbances such as fire, construction...or floods.  The trees also cause maintenance problems along roads and utility rights-of-way and in gardens"  (Randall & Marinelli, 1996).  "For rapid growth to occur, the plant requires full sunlight, ample soil moisture and fertile soil" (Boroughs, 1991, cited in Csurhes and Edwards, 1998; p. 184).

Propagation:  Prolific seed producer, sprouts profusely. Mature plants can reproduce from coppice. (Csurhes and Edwards, 1998; p. 184).

Native range:  Eastern Asia. Often promoted as a rapidly growing forestry tree.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island extirpated
invasive
cultivated
Parker, James L./Parsons, Bobby (2012) (p. 61)
Voucher cited: J. Parker & R. Parsons BIED107 (BISH)
Specimens removed.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 184)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 1200)
"Occasional in the vicinity of gardens, especially in pavement cracks or similar places".
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 184)

Comments:  Invasive in the eastern United States.

Control:  Additional control information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical: Small seedlings can by hand-pulled, but all parts of the roots must be removed. Large trees can be cut or girdled, but resprouting is a problem unless herbicides are used. Repeated cutting will eventually exhaust the roots.

Chemical: "Treat cut stumps immediately with a 50 percent solution of glyphosate or triclopyr herbicide to prevent sprouting.  On small trees a foliar application of 2 percent glyphosate is effective"  (Randall & Marinelli, 1996).

Additional information:
Factsheet (from PCA-APWG)
Information on this species from "Silvics of North American", USDA Agriculture Handbook 654.
Information from "Invasive plants of Asian origin established in the United States and their natural enemies, volume 1" (PDF format).
Information from the World Agroforestry Centre's AgroForestryTree Database.
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information from the publication "Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control".
Information from the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual.
Species profile from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Invasive Species Information Center.
Information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Additional online information about Paulownia tomentosa is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Paulownia tomentosa as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Paulownia tomentosa may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany, eighth edition. American Book Co. p. 588.

Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. 93 p.

Parker, James L./Parsons, Bobby. 2012. New plant records from the Big Island for 2009. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2011. Part II: Plants. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 113:55-63.

Randall, J. M./Marinelli, J. (eds.). 1996. Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook 149. 111 pp.

U. S. Government. 2013. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (on-line resource).

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

Zheng, Hao/Wu, Yun/Ding, Jianqing/Binion, Denise/Fu, Weidong/Reardon, Richard. 2004. Invasive plants of Asian origin established in the United States and their natural enemies, volume 1. FHTET-2004-05. U.S. Forest Service, Morgantown.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 18 MAR 2012.