Seeds of Paulownia Shan tong, best Paulownia for valuable wood production
Paulowina Shan-tong belongs to the family of the Paulowinacae. It is native to China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. It is also known as princess tree, empress tree or Kiri. In the 19th century different species of Paulowina were brought to Europe as an ornamental plant. Paulownia Shan tong is a Hybrid resulting when crossing P. tomentosa and the white Paulowina. P. Shan tong grows as a tree and reaches a height of up to 15 m. The trunk gets 35 cm in diameter. At an age of 10 years it is ready for being cut down. It grows very fast. The empress tree can grow 2 m per year in good years. The wood is used to produce wood chips that are used as fuel. One hopes that P. shantong helps to solve the energy problem the world has. It grows very fast and so it produces much biomass that can be used as fuel. However it is a pity to use the wood just to burn it. The wood has a high quality and can also be used to built music instruments, furniture and ships. It is especially good for building ships because it does not absorb much water. The wood of P. shantong is qualitatively the best of all Paulowina species. The wood is also quite resistant against decomposition and damage caused by insects. The leaves of the princess tree are big and have a long petiole. They are consisting of three to five lobes and are pubescent. The leaves can get 40 cm wide and can be used to feed animals. The leaves are only green in summer and get brown in autumn. The inflorescences of the princess tree are called thyrse. The flowers are actinomorphic, hermaphrodite and rose to violet in color. They look really beautiful and have a very pleasant odor. The fruit is a capsule that contains many small, brown seeds with wings. Some really big empress trees can produce up to 20 Million seeds per year that get distributed by the wind. The roots of P. shantong go deep into the soil.
Cultivation of Paulownia Shan-tong from seeds
The seeds of Paulownia shantong should be put into the fridge for a few days before planting (stratification). After that germination will occur faster. The seed should be only pressed slightly on the substrate. P. shantong is a light germinator. When the substrate is kept moist at a temperature of about 23°C germination occurs after 3 weeks. One should choose a sunny place for P. shantong. Paulownia shantong is winter hardy but it should be put into the house for the first year in winter. In this first years it does not tolerate frost that good.
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