There are many common misconceptions about the Empress Splendor (Paulownia elongata and fortunei) tree. Mostly, the information found on the internet does not differentiate between the various species within the genus Paulownia, but only one, the tomentosa, is listed as invasive in some areas. This single species has painted the entirety of the genus into the corner of being labeled as invasive and gets all the attention, while the other species are assumed to have the same traits. This is an incorrect assumption that requires further exploration.
In this short video, Dr. Cathy Key, World Tree’s President and Chief Operations Officer, clearly explains why the Paulownia species grown by World Tree should not be labeled as invasive. She details how the seeds are extremely difficult to germinate and the trees actually have a low survival rate in the wild compared to native trees. On the other hand, the Empress tree has many ecosystem benefits including carbon drawdown, soil restoration, pollination services, and shade for companion crops not found in other trees. All together, these characteristics make the Empress an ideal tree to grow for both economic and environmental reasons.
Discover more about the Empress tree here.