Tree with purple bloom...I.D. please?

pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)May 13, 2008

I've just gotten home and traveled through beautiful western West Virginia. Along the way I could see a tree that was blooming purple...reminiscent of a Wisteria bloom. Can someone tell me what is the tree? Couldn't get my husband to stop. ;)


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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

I just realized this isn't the "Gardening in the Virginias" forum..but can you still help? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Search Google Images for Paulownia and see if that's it.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:59AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Bingo gardener_sandy! I should have mentioned it hadn't leafed out yet, but you didn't even need that hint. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:52PM
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An awfully invasive tree, I'm sorry it has infested more northerly areas - I thought it was mostly a problem south of Virginia.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Lovely tree--I wish it would invade my garden. Some years ago there was a rash of thefts of mature paulawnias in northern Va. from suburban yards and parks and even an elementary school. It is used for making traditional pieces of furniture in Japan and the price had risen high enough to make paulawnia-napping a lucrative enterprise.

Between sticky-fingered people who covet its wood and purists who scorn it for being non-native, there may be fewer paulawnias around to admire. Sigh....

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 6:53AM
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purists who scorn it for being non-native

Ah, that's not really the issue in the South. There are plenty of great non-native plants, lovely well behaved plants that we are all happy to have in our gardens.

THIS plant springs up in places like parks and woodland edges, shading out and out competing native vegetation. The prolific seeds are carried far and wide on wind and water.

If someone wants paulownia wood, I'd be happy to take them around and point out enough trees to fill several truckloads. If they'd take some Tree of Heaven and mimosa wood with them too, that would be super!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 9:37PM
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It's always good to remember that a plant that grows like a weed in one area can be very well behaved in another and down right tricky to grow somewhere else.

There are times when I would love to ban maples from my neighborhood. I must pull many thousands of those little trees out of my flower beds every year! I did get a kousa dogwood once among all the volunteer cornus florida--never a paulawnia though!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 8:11AM
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Yes, that is true that some trees are more well behaved in certain areas. We don't have some of the weeds in the South that are found up north (shrub honeysuckles, burning bush, purple loosestrife, Norway maple). But don't forget that circumstances change.

The original poster obviously spotted paulownia growing in Virginia on roadsides. That means it is possible. I don't get paulownia seedlings in my yard yet either because there are none within about 2 miles of me (that I know of, there is one about 3 miles away). But I expect it to happen one day as the invasion spreads a little closer. Tree of Heaven is within about 1 mile of me and spreading fast.

I wonder what kind of maple seedlings you have? Norway maple is considered invasive in Virginia and points north. Here's a good link from Maryland.

Here is a link that might be useful: Norway maple

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 12:53PM
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There is a paulawnia about 3 blocks away from me on the other side of a small park. Someday a seed may drift in my direction but it hasn't happened yet. Elsewhere in Virginia, I have seen huge old Empress trees coexisting happily with enormous oaks and...poplars? Anyway they were playing well with others in a forest setting and had been for some time.

Like dogwood, Paulownia is obvious on roadsides because of its beautiful flowers. I've read that there is fossil evidence that Paulawnia once grew in North America and was wiped out during one of our ice ages. Does the sight of loblolly pines on the roadside fill you with despair? Native, but once minor players, they have taken over from the longleaf pines because of our ability to stop forest fires.

Nothing stays the same. In nature the balance always shifts over time. My favorite tree is the dogwood--cornus florida. The anthracnose that has been killing dogwoods for the last 25 years may have come in on a well behaved garden plant or an immigrant's shoe or it may have mutated here. The end result is...our landscapes are changing as they always have and always will. Meantime on land that you have control over, plant what you like, rip out what you don't and please accept that others may make different choices.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:35AM
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Meantime on land that you have control over, plant what you like, rip out what you don't

Such a narrow view. There are choices that some people make on their own land that affect others. That is what invasives are all about.

Similar to pollution - people that create it (on their own property) eventually share it with others. Was it right that they did what they wanted on their own land? What about if you dump pollution in a stream on your own land but it flows downstream to others? Just like streams, private properties are not isolated, they connect together.

To me, and others, invasive plants affect all of us at some point. And yes, bad diseases and pests have been brought in on imported plants by people that thought they could do what they wanted. And now Elms, Chestnuts and Hemlocks are dead and dying. True, it was an accident, no one did this this on purpose; but this is one of the risks that come with "doing what you want". And it affected LOTS of people and even wildlife. I don't know if that was the source of the dogwood issues, btw.

I'd like to encourage everyone to think beyond yourself and consider that your actions can have impacts on other people and the environment. When you're considering new plants, research them and find out what they're about. Make an informed decision.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 12:29PM
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Of course our planting choices can affect others. You might say that it would be irresponsible to plant an oak tree in a suburban neighborhood. They provide wonderful shade but eventually they will grow large enough to crush a house. Pollen of various kinds can trigger asthma. My neighbor's mulberry tree drops messy purple fruit in my back yard (but it is awfully entertaining to watch squirrels and even raccoons up in the tree eating mulberries.)

Most people join gardening forums to learn from the personal experience of other gardeners. I think you've made a big leap comparing the planting of an empress tree with poisoning the air and water, but thank you for sharing. I appreciate the fact that you really hate paulownia trees.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 9:39PM
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esofva(7b VA)

I sure wish some would come along my way!!! I have been looking for one!! As for invasiveness...I would much rather have one of those and remove its unwanted starts than deal constantly with wild cherries spring up by the hundreds in my flower beds!!!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 12:42PM
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Kwanzan Cherry it could be that look up some pic and see if it is

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:48AM
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It was probably an 'Empress' tree. Type it in your search window and click on images. I believe the wood is on the brittle side, so the tree leaves a lot of debris. Maybe that is why it is not found in more yards. I only see it in the wild along the sides of the highways.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 2:41PM
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could also be the native redbud

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 9:59PM
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