Paulownia is not just another exotic tree. It is difficult to list without missing some all the areas where different parts of it are used. Wood, leaves, blossoms – each of them have properties we can use.

The whole plant – with its remarkably fast growing it is a little treasure to the environmentalists. They have found,that paulownia, with its rapidly developing root system, is extremely suitable to afforest plots at risk of erosion. It has been routines in some countries for a long time – in US for example, where erosion is a constant problem. Paulownia is also suitable for reforestation of burned forest lands; except the obvious advantages, because of the considerable quantity of foliar, it provides natural fertilization of the areas after the fall of the leaves.

Certainly, its unusual features, paulownia has become merely obligatory species for parks and gardens – not only in Asia but in Europe and USA too. The huge leaves and the big crown, which moreover grow without years of waiting, give deep shadow to the places to rest; so a park with paulownia is a nice piece of coolness among the heat and dust of the big cities. There is no need even to mention what big amount of green (and photosynthetic) mass are these leaves and how much of the carbon dioxide they process. If there really is a tree to call „ lungs of the city“ - it is paulownia.

Leaf of paulownia

The leaves are about 75 cm in diameter, so there is no wonder in the significant volume of carbon dioxide required by paulownia for its metabolism, respectively – the large amount of oxygen released by them in the atmosphere during the photosynthetic process. The leaf mass of paulownia is suitable to prepare feed for the grazing stock – it contains about 20% protein and its features are close to the lucerne. The accessibility and the big yield provide low cost of the feed – it is one of the most important benchmarks for the selection of feed in the cattle industry. But this is not the only one that paulownia leaves are appreciated for. It is known that they contain some substances which influence beneficially the activity of the liver, kidneys and gallbladder and have also good effect at the pulmonary diseases. These properties of them are known for a long time in China; even the pharmaceutical industry there produces medicines, based on paulownia. The paulownia leaves have other properties too – their application in cosmetics is almost as old as in medicine, but it is new in Europe; only resently extracts of paulownia leaves are included in the formulation of creams and perfumes.The same applies to the blossoms - the aroma of paulownia blossom is defined as „vanilla, powder and lightly almond“. It was revealed that it is due to the heliotropin it contains. This is a substance, well known in perfumery present in another aromas (Tahitian vanilla for example). The analysis of paulownia blossom is performed by so called"GC mass spec" method, based on the gas chromatography and mass.

Paulownia plantation with blossoms Paulownia as feed

We can not pay attention toanother part of the miracles paulownia - the large blossoms that overwhelm its branches every sping. Except beauty, they are characterized by too pleasant aroma. The bees, moreover,appreciate their advantages and that's why honey with remarkable taste is produced by hives near paulownia grove. The honey of paulownia is light, clear, very bright and aromatic; by colour and consistency it can only compare with the acacia honey. Paulownia honey is the highest quality just like it. Except delicacies it is a medicinal too. Its propeties to affect and help the cure of bronchitis and other respiratory diseases and also to improve the fuction of the gall and liver and the digestion generally, are well known. These properties of the honey of paulownia are due to biologically active substances in the blossoms, so not surprisingly, the blossoms themselves are used for food. Except the Chinese experience in this direction, we must not miss the resently fashion use of paulownia blossoms as funnels filled with cream – it may sound like an exotic desert, but it is part of the menu in some restaurants in Europe.

Paulownia blossom

Even the seeds of this wonderful plant have an apllication: even in 19th century they were used for packing and transporting of fine porcelain from China. This is in fact, how paulownia finds its way to USA.

The features of the plant may be seen in the following comparative table:

Comparative characteristics by growing speed of the first 7 species of fast growing trees of the planet.

Common Name

Growth Rate per Yr.

Height in 3 Yrs

Mature Height

Paulownia, Empress Tree

(Paulownia spp.)

3 – 5 m

10,5 – 15,5 m

15 – 20 m

Willow Hybrid

(Salix spp. hybrid)

1,5 – 4 m

7,5 – 12 m

15 – 25 m

Lombardy Poplar


(Populus nigra)

2,5 – 3,5 m

9 – 12 m

20 – 25 m

Hybrid Poplar

(Populus deltoides)

2,5 – 3,5 m

9 – 12 m

20 – 30 m

Nuttall oak

(Quercus texana, Quercus nuttalli)

2 – 2,5 m

7,5 – 9 m

15 – 20 m

Eucalyptus Tree

(Eucalyptus polyanthemos)

2 – 2,5 m

6 – 9 m

10 – 15 m

Weeping Willow

(Salix babylonica)

1,5 - 2,5 m

4,5 – 9 m

15 – 20 m

*The data are taken from researches on the territory of the USA

From all of these species, paulownia is the less pretentious regarding the soil quality. It easily adapts to different types of soil and the only specific requirement is the presence of enough moisture during the first years of its growth. the plant lives long – from 70 to 100 years, which makes it an exception among the other fast growing species. When selecting paulownia an account for its resistance to low temperature must be kept. It is known that Paulownia tomentosa withstands to cold of -27°С, Paulownia elongata – to -16°С, and Paulownia fortunei is not resistant to temperature below 0°С.

Velboy Ltd. provides paulownia seed which not has only fast growth, but also high tolerance to the low temperature in our counry.

As we have already said paulownia species with their growth of 1 cubic meter for about 7 – 8 years, are one of the most fast growing trees on the planet. In times, when before introducing every innovation in agriculture we have to think if it may cause damage to the nature first, in an era, when the society starts at last to measure its own technological progress with the degree of the environmental protection, paulownia is proved to be a little treasure again. The fast growth of the tree is extremely suitable for obtaining large quantites of biomass for a short time. Many manifactureres already introduce this practice in their farms; thick plant, paulownia aproach the the nessessary development for a short time without occuping too much arable land. The whole plant is used – stem, leaf mass, etc. The biomass of paulownia is suitable for silage (therefore as food for animals), and also for many other purposes as material for alternative renewable energy sources. One of the most perspective applications is the bioethanol, made of cellulose. Except the many areas, when it is used now, some scientists see it as the fuel of the future – easily to produce and use, without risk for the environment. There are two methods to produce bioethanol – the first is by using special microorganisms, cultivated for this purpose, which use the cellulose as an energy source and release ethanol as a product of their metabolism; the other is based on the effect of certain enzymes, breaking the cellulose to the proper product. Even the second is cheaperer and more often applied, both of them have advantages and future. As we have already said, the biomass of paulownia is a proper material for production of bioethanol, but it is not the only one. When processing paulownia and producing wood, there are, of course, branches and other parts left, which are formally called waste, but they not only did not discharge, but in fact they are another source of cellulose for bioethanol production. So the planting and processing of paulownia naturally includes in the cycle of the substance in nature, but it also actively contributes to maintaining the ecological balance and preservation of nature on our planet. The cellulose of the plant is used to produce the current nowadays pellets. They are used as fuel for boilers, heated single homes or entire buildings and for industrial purpose as their use is increasing constantly. The cheap and easy obtaining of biomass is possible for the following features of paulownia:

- it does not require replanting; even at low cutting young tree grows from the log and it grows faster because the root system of the tree is already developed.

- the stem may be cut at any time – we are not involved with seasons and limits to harvest.

Nothing is really lost from paulownia; nothing pollutes or changes the environment. In this sense it is not exaggerated to call it „Tree of future“, because our land has future only if we use its resources rationally and with appropriate care.

Paulownia plantation for biomass.

The biomass of paulownia is suitable for producing renewable energy sources – bioethanol for example

One of the interesting features of paulownia tree are the wonderful properties of its wood. The first of them is its versatility. Although used for ages, nowadays we continue to astonish by its multiple applications – even such we have not known for yet. Certainly the low cost of paulownia wood is another stimulus to search for brand applications. When compare its cost to its features, it is seen that we are not too far from the ideal wood.

Paulownia wood

The first thing that makes an impression when we see paulownia wood is its remarkable lightness. That is why it is prefered in fabrication of parts for which the low weight is of great importance, as aviation structures and parts for vessels. It is also very valuable as material for boxes, pallets, products ready for transportation, because the entire weight of load is reduced, this leads to lower fuel conumption, opportunity to transport more goods and respectively lower cost of the transport, which is ultimately the purpose of anyone who deals with logistics. This kind of wood is lately prefered by autoproducers for interior solutions. The combination of its features make it proper as the lightness is only one of them.

Paulownia wood

microscopic picture of the structure of paulownia wood

Another one is the low content of moisture of paulownia wood and the low risk of fire. It has water content about 10-12%, hardly disclaims water, so the parts, made of it does not warp, as the most wood parts exposed to moisture usually do. It is due to its fibrous structure, due to the special design of its cells. This exactly makes paulownia prefered when choosing material for sauna and furniture. Its features make it suitable for almost everything: toys, blinds,parquet and last but not least musical instruments. The wood has special acoustic properties known by the Asian craftsmen. Lately there are some European musical instruments made by such wood but in that area things are yet about to happen.

Paulownia as material for musical instruments Furniture and tiling of paulownia

As disadvantage of paulownia wood its low hardness is often cited. Yes, it is a really soft wood and in many areas of application this is a big advantage. Of course the are applications, where wood is nessessery to be hard. In such cases pactice is veneer with harder wood, walnut for example. The cost diffrence of such product, compared to same but made entirely of walnut wood is quite serious. The product weight is also diffrent and last but not least we have to mention that fire authorities in most countries should be terrified seeing a home full of walnut wood, whereas paulownia burns rather difficult (because of its low resin content). In fact nowadays many manifacturers use paulownia to make those parts of furniture which are not seen. That is how they achieve lightness, solidity, lower cost and resistance to deformation. We have not to miss mentioning that paulownia wood еcannot br damaged by woodworms. This fact is highly appreciated in coutries where livind in wood houses is a practice - if you think that is a trifle, remember how our grandmothers complained of their damaged furniture;some of us have seen ourselves their old wardrobes and cabinets eaten by this parasite. Unlike the fast growing species of genu Quercus, where tannin are deposed in leaves, paulownia deposes tannin in the wood, which makes it resistant to invasion of woodworms and terms.

Sauna of paulownia Panel of paulownia

Paulownia is often compared to the balsa wood. It cannot be denied that balsa has has some qualities but still – seen in details, paulownia excels it on some items. Primarily, unlike balsa, paulownia does not absorb lakes and epoxy resins; even water, as we mentioned. That is why it is prefered as wood not just for sauna benches, but also for different kind of racer boats – in combination with lightness and low cost. Its application in sports is not limited to boats – surfs, snowboards and ski are made of it.

Usage of paulownia in shipbuilding

Ther is almost no place in home where paulownia wood is not desirable – except blinds, panels and оfurniture, an excellent parquet is made of it after plywood. Especially for the apllied arts lovers we notify that paulownia is material that carvers use with pleasure; because of its softness, combined with the hard burning and low deformation, it is ideal even for the most complicated woodcarving. Not at the last place in the list of this wood's qualities are its smoothness and lack of nodules. It is interesting its possibility to hold screws in its very end without spliting. That you can see at the picture:

Paulownia wood holds 
screws on its very end.

All of the exposed fact definitely prove that paulownia is not just another tree species – it is a way to do business. Significantly it is called"Oil well tree"; it shall really bring you profit. Energy, farmery, art or science – wherever your interests are, you will find a place for paulownia - the Tree of Future there. That future shall be safer and warmer with it. Ther is always a time to use its possibilities but yet – the very right moment is now!