Royalty from Melanie in SC

This plant is growing in the wooded area behind our home. It is about 6′ tall and growing. Would love to know what it is. It seems to be growing on the edge where it can still get sun.


Hi Melanie,

your plant is actually a young tree, Paulownia tomentosa, the Empress tree.  It was introduced many years ago to this country as a source of wood.  The flowers are very attractive.  The entire tree resembles a catalpa, to which it seems to be related.  Some consider it a pest, but not me, I guess.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a large colony of it in one place.  The seeds are tiny and winged, and they can travel widely in the wind.  You can find out more about it here: and also here:


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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