History of the Paulownia Tree

Empress Trees around the World

Records stretch back some 2000 to 3000 years, of the growing and cultivation of Paulownia Trees exists throughout the whole of China and the various species of Paulownia are all used throughout the vast areas of the country. The trees are carefully selected to suit the specific regional, ecological and climatic conditions. Paulownia Timber thus grown in China can have a huge variety of density and weight.

With the growth of International Trade, seeds of the Paulownia Tree were inadvertently included in packing cases and thus found their way to most corners of the globe. The tree flourished in various parts of the USA, South America and also found its way into Australasia.

The Paulownia Tree and its Habitat

The Paulownia Tree is deciduous and will grow from seedling to a harvestable size in an astounding short time-span of eight to ten years. The young seedlings feature very large ( 60 to 70 cms. ) leaves, after large juvenile leaves of up to 1 metre across and can grow up six metres tall in the first season. The trees are extremely hardy, it has a broad range of temperature tolerance and has been known to grow at altitudes of up to 2000m. Under optimal conditions an annual increment of 3 to 4 cm in diameter at breast height is not uncommon. Paulownia Trees will flower early in the growing season which lasts from September/October through to April/May. Paulownia trees are dormant during the winter season.

The Paulownia Tree is regarded as a pioneer tree and will not tolerate too much competition from surrounding trees and weeds. Its main demands are sunlight, water, and nutrients, which it will use in abundance during its spectacular growth.
Although its history in Australia is relatively short, it has already become evident that Paulownia Plantations will play a vital role in the future of a sustainable supply of high quality timber.