Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)seeds, organic [TN, AL, NC, CT no]

$2.95$34.10

Family:  Figwort (Scrophulariaceae)

Hardy to Zones 6 to 12.

Deciduous tree native to central and western China.   This is one of the most impressively large-leaved (elephant ear size) plants that you can grow. The plant commonly increases 15 feet in height in a single year.  I let some of them go to full size (to collect the flowers and the seed) and I keep one near the greenhouse cut back so it bushes out hugely each year and provides shade for the transplanters in the summer months. The tree figures strongly in lore and legend, and the poles are useful around the farm for trellising.  The fast growth and the great surface area of the leaves makes this one of the most significant “carbon sinks” available on the planet.  Removes carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and replaces this gas with breathable oxygen at approximately twice the rate of a “normal” tree.  Traditional usage:  manufacture of medicinal grade charcoal.   Plant prefers full sun to part shade and a moist soil surface (roots run close to the surface).  Space trees at least 20 feet apart.

Packet contains 200 seeds
1 g contains ~1,800 seeds
5 g contains ~9,000 seeds
10 g contains ~1,800 seeds
Certified Organically Grown [not available to TN, AL, NC or CT]

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  1. Question

    Jonathan

    Why is Empress tree not available to Alabama? Makes me want it more!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Empress tree is a mixed bag. On one hand it is a good permaculture plant in that it very quickly makes long straight poles for garden use, is a great shade tree, is very pretty, and also is the top carbon sequestering tree on Earth, due to the vigorous growth and large leaf surface area (leaves very large indeed, and temperate hardy). On the other hand the tree is considered to be an invasive weed in many of the Eastern States and I have received a significant amount of hate mail from people saying that empress squeezes out native species and should never be introduced. here on the West Coast, these are non-invasive and are really well-behaved. I’ve had them on my land for 40 years and I have like 3 volunteers–not a significant threat, only appreciated. Therefore what it seems to boil down to is, if you want to clean up the environment plant empress, and if you are worried about native plants do not plant empress. If you live in places where it is considered a disallowed invasive weed, do not plant it (Includes Alabama, I think) Where does that leave us? Only with love, which is the critical substrate of all positive activity. richo

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  2. Question

    Marilyn Hylton

    Hello, I was just curiuos of why is not available to TN?

    Thank you

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Empress tree is considered a noxious weed by several of the Southern states. Around here, we are pretty impressed with it, encourage it to grow, and don’t find it to be weedy. But we do comply with state laws regarding non-distribution of disallowed species. To each his own. r

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  3. Richo Cech

    Admin Richo Cech

    Every year it gets harder for me to get the seed pods, as they occur many feet up in the trees here on our farm (trees that were started from seed some years ago–these babies grow fast!).  Anyhow I was putting off the harvest this year because its dangerous and all, and then finally got up the courage to go out and grab the ladder and a long pole to try to knock down some pods, and when I came to the trees, one of them had BENT OVER ITS TOP and was offering me the pods, completely ripe and ready to go, right there at head level.  I said “Thank You” and took some of them. 

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    • Shelly

      Would this tree do well on land facing the Pacific ocean? Pacifica?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      ooh, sounds nice. Yes, there are several of them overlooking SF bay at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. These trees tend to be well-behaved when planted in the western states.

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    • Karen Walasek

      I live in TN on a ridge with heavy clay soil and don’t have a problem with too many trees. In fact Jimmy Carter thought they would be a great tree crop. Could be a red state backlash thing for all I know. Every April and May the purple blossoms fill my yard with a heavenly scent. I have about 3 on my property. But I’ve heard they are hard to start from seed. Do you have any advice?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Sounds lovely, I have 3 on my property as well, check your potted plants for volunteers if you want to start more, that’s what I do.

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