Paulowinia tomentosa (Thunb.) Steud. - Princess Tree, Empress Tree

Paulowinia tomentosa plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - No info. yet.

Paulowinia tomentosa barkBark of trunk.

Leaves - No info. yet.

Inflorescence - No info. yet.

Flowers - Corolla zygomorphic, 5-lobed, purple, glandular pubescent externally, fragrant. Corolla tube to +/-5cm long, +/-1.5cm in diameter, glabrous internally, with 2 internal ridges (the ridges yellowish). Upper 2 corolla lobes 1.5cm broad and long, rounded at the apex. Lower 3 corolla lobes 1.5-1.6cm long and broad. The central lobe more rounded than the lateral 2. Stamens 4, didynamous, adnate at the base of the corolla tube. Filaments twisted at the base, white, glabrous, the longer 2 to 2.3cm long. Anthers tan, 5mm long. Pollen whitish to pale yellow. Ovary superior, subtended by a nectary, conic, yellow, 6mm long, 5mm in diameter at the base, densely glandular, 2-locular, with 2 ovules, tuberculate. Style +2cm long, white, glandular pubescent. Stigma glabrous, slightly swollen, white. Calyx tan, tomentose internally and externally, thick, 5-lobed (the lobes unequal). Calyx tube to 1cm long, 1.3cm in diameter. Upper 3 calyx lobes unequal. Central lobe broader than the other 2, 1cm long and broad, rounded at the apex. Lateral 2 upper lobes slightly curved upward, 8-9mm long, 7-8mm broad, rounded to subacute at the apex. Lower 2 calyx lobes equal, acute, 1cm long, 5-6mm broad.

Paulowinia tomentosa flower

Paulowinia tomentosa calyxCalyx and corolla tube.

Paulowinia tomentosa fruitsFruits in-situ.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Cultivated and escaped to waste ground, thickets, fencerows, roadsides.

Origin - Native to China.

Other info. - This showy yet weedy species can be found scattered throughout Missouri. This is an easy species to identify because of its big, opposite leaves and purple flowers. The plant grows readily from seed and spreads easily. The flowers don't last long on the plant and fall after a day or two. The fruits, however, are long-persistent.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-12-02 and in Chatham County, NC., 4-23-03.


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