Empress tree from Mandy Norrell

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A large plant with large green heart-shaped leaves, and a trunk that is starting to look like a tree, has sprouted in an open spot in the asphalt pavement in the parking lot behind our office in downtown Lancaster. A manhole is nearby, so we suspect it is being “fertilized.” It has grown to over 11 feet in the past four months.

Hi Mandy,

this looks like Paulownia tomentosa, the Empress tree, native mostly to Japan. It is often considered to be a nuisance because of its fast growth and its tendency to spread where it isn’t wanted.  It does have nice flowers, though…


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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