Royal Empress Tree

The Regal Royal Empress Tree

A tree with a name like Royal Empress Tree demands we find out the back story. How is it that it got a name like this? Who was the royal empress that it was named after? Queen Victoria? Queen Isabella? And what is so great about such a tree that it would be deserving of such a name?

Well here’s the low down on this impressive sounding tree:

East Asian Origins

As you might be able to detect from its name, the Royal Empress Tree has its origins in China. In China it is called the Pao Tong. Apparently, the legend goes that a Phoenix will only land on a Royal Empress Tree and only during a period where the ruler of China is good and effective.

Even more interesting is its place in Chinese culture. It is an ancient Chinese tradition to plant a Royal Empress Tree when a baby girl is born. The Royal Empress is then like a companion for the baby girl, growing into a sapling as the girl grows into a toddler, coming into first bloom as the girl begins to go through her first growth spurt, and then maturing to its full height just as the girl reaches marrying age.

When the girl does marry, it is then traditional to cut the tree down an offer articles made from the tree as part of the girl’s dowry.

Paulownia Tomentosa

So, does the tree’s appearance match its noble name? Indeed it does. The scientific name for the Royal Empress is the paulownia tomentosa and it really is a rather impressive tree. It grows quickly to height of more than fifty feet. But it often reaches more than one hundred feet in full maturity. This is no scrawny bush, that’s for sure.

The Royal Empress has large and full leaves. When the Royal Empress is in its youth, it will usually don luscious pink. But as it matures so do its tastes. In full maturity its leaves are a deep green.

The Empress Leads the Invasion

Many rulers have an itch to expand their territories. It is no different for the Royal Empress Tree. It is a tree built to lead invasion forces. Its fruit is a hard nut that contains thousands of seeds. When ripe these seeds burst open and take to the wind, forming a swarming ariel attack over any landscape to which they are introduced.

In climates to which it is well suited, the Royal Empress takes hold and grows quickly, driving out other slower growing trees. The Empress Tree doesn’t feel any inclination to mingle with the common vegetation of the area; it simply demands that other growth make way for it.

In the Eastern half of the United States, the Royal Empress led a secret invasion. The tree was imported some years ago, but while its fruit was being transported by train, they broke open and took flight, leading a sneak attack on the unsuspecting countryside.

The Empress’s Fragile Ego

And yet, the Royal Empress Tree has one major shortcoming. It does not brook the insult of having larger trees overshadow it. The Royal Empress simply withers away and dies when forced to live in the shadow of larger more robust trees.

So after it leads its invasions, it usually is a casualty of its own success, giving way to other larger followers.

The Royal Empress’ Impressive Environmental Record

The Royal Empress, like many a foreign leader, is also largely misunderstood. Because of its status as an invasive growth, detractors have saddled it with many negative attitudes, claiming despite the obvious visual evidence that it is, for example, an ugly tree.

As is often the case, however, these critics have missed the ancient wisdom of this tree. Its rapid growth means that this is an ideal tree to restore eroded lands. Furthermore, scientific study has shown that the Royal Empress works harder than any other tree at drawing up pollutants from the soil and filtering them.

Due to its fast growth, scientists have also suggested that the Royal Empress may serve as the perfect solution for the problem of deforestation. The Royal Empress’ rapid growth means that it can transform higher levels of carbon dioxide and that by reaching full maturity more quickly can quadruple the yield of lumber. These, combined with the tree’s natural shading ability, have made the Royal Empress the queen of eco-friendly trees.

Put simply, the Royal Empress is no idle figurehead!



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