mystery plant in Lewisville, NC (pic)

quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)June 24, 2008

I have seen these growing in impossible places like cracks between pavement in the city, along overpasses and in abandoned wastelands. What is it? I have seen one with a trunk about 5 inches thick, so it must be a tree of some sort. I recently saw one growing in the woods, but this one is in full sun. Any idea?

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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

That's a Paulownia tomentosa, aka Princess or Empress tree. Native to China but naturalized through NC and considered to be invasive and weedy. I've heard the wood is valued for furniture, musical instruments, etc, and they can look pretty amazing when coppiced to promote growth of those huge leaves, but I take them out if they grow in my garden because they outcompete just about everything.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 6:46PM
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They were the original wood used for disposable chopsticks. 20 years ago or so there was a shortage in Asia and people were actully sneaking into Botanical gardens and parks along the east coast to steal them and ship them back for big bucks. Plastics came to the "rescue" chopstick wise and now no one notices the invasion. As bad as Kudzu.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 5:22PM
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