Paulownia tomentosa, empress tree, foxglove tree seeds
Paulownia tomentosa, which is also known as the empress tree, the princess tree or the foxglove tree, has its origin in central and west of China. Because of its pleasant odor and the unique and beautiful blossoms it is usually used as an ornamental plant in Korea, Europe, Japan and North America. The name of this plant was given by the researcher of nature, medical doctor and japanese researcher from Würzburg, Philipp Franz von Siebold. He brought this tree to Europe and named it after Anna Pawlowna, who was a Dutch princess and the daughter of the russian tsar Paul the first. Later on she became queen of the Netherlands. The empress tree can grow up to fifteen meters with huge leaves with a size of at most 45 centimeters. They are positioned oppositely at the branches and are covered with lots of hairs on the bottom side, hence it appears like velvet. The buds are hairy and colored with a mixture of red and brown. They are arranged in great bunches which can have a size up to forty centimeters. The duration of florescence lasts from april to may with bell or trumpet formed blossoms. These flowers are yellow colored in the middle of the bloom and going to the outer side they become violet. They effuse a strong and sweet smell which is attractive for especially bumble bees. The rigid brown fruits are dropping down from the tree when the following blooming period arrives. In these capsules the leaf-tipped seeds are preserved. The mellow fruits open and the seeds become free and spread via their little wings. The capsules contain a toxic substance called Verbascosid, thus capsules, seeds and leaves aswell should not be eaten. There are many reasons which sign the wood of this tree as useful.
Because of its fast growth it is very suitable for producing furniture out of it for example. Just as it is also difficult to enflame andin comparison to other woods it is very hard. Sometimes it can also be used for music instruments and even surf boards could be made out if it. The tree should have a very sunny and warm place to grow, wind and cold temperatures should be absolutely avoided! They lose their leaves during winter period. The soil should be kept dry and humid just from time to time.
In Japan, the foxglove tree has a special symbolism and an important meaning. Here it is called the emperor´s tree because of its extraordinary beautiful blossoms. It is also signed in the chinese emperor´s emblem during this time. Meanwhile today the japanese prime minister´s emblem also includes three branches of this tree with a total amount of seventeen blossoms. In China there is an old tradition which is kept during a period of time. Well situated families plant this tree when a daughter was born. The tree will grow very fast with the years of the growing daughter until she will be married. For this marriage this tree will be felled and the wood of the tree will be used for the preparation of furniture as endowment. fast. Both, China and Japan, admire the empress tree as a symbol for luck and fecundity.
Growing Paulownia from seeds:
Paulownia seeds need light to germinate. Just sprinkle them on moist sowing soil and gently press them onto it. Do not cover the seeds. Keep constantly moist and let not dry them out, keep at a bright place and at about 20°C. It will take about 3-4 weeks to germinate
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