The species Paulownia tomentosa belongs to Paulownia tree genus. It includes several species that have similar qualities. Historically, the original name of the genus is Pavlovnia, but was later changed to Paulownia. It is named after Queen Anna Pavlovna, the daughter of the Russian Tsar Paul I Petrovich. For the same reason, the tree is still known as the "princess tree". In China, Paulownia is called "dragonwood" and in Japan - "kiri".

In our species Paulownia tomentosa occurs as a decorative tree that has adapted well to the Bulgarian climatic conditions. This species originates from Southeast China. Paulownia is a broad-leaved, fast-growing tree. For 8-9 years the tree reaches 13-15 m in height, and the stem - up to 30-35 cm in diameter. The crust of Paulownia is from gray-brown to dark brown in color. It is thin, alternated with a smooth, slightly rough surface. The leaves of the species are large, oval to broad-heart in shape, ca. 70-80 cm (sometimes up to 1 meter) in diameter, resembling "elephant ears". The rich exotic leaves provide a dense and cool shade. Paulownia flowers appear before leaves and flowering lasts 6-8 weeks. In early spring - April and May, the trees bloom with a brilliant pale violet flowers. The large flowers have a pleasant aroma and attract bees. The honey from Paulownia is light, transparent and aromatic; By color and consistency can only be compared with acacia honey.

The fruit of the Paulownia is a green capsule, ovoid, 3-4 cm long and 2.5 cm in diameter. It is divided into four compartments, which can contain about 2000 seeds. A large tree can produce up to 20 million seeds per year. The seeds are small, flat, winged, weighing about 0.17 mg. The fruits ripen in autumn - September and October, they dry and remain stuck on the tree all winter.

The ecological role of Paulownia is also important - the large green leaf mass of the trees processes a large amount of carbon dioxide and, respectively, photosensing and releases a lot of oxygen in the atmosphere. That's why the species can be called "the lungs of the cities".

The blooming growth, the rapid growth, the big leaves, the beautiful crown and the unpretentiousness of the paulownia have long made it a part of parks and gardens that are almost indispensable - not only for Asia but also for the United States and Europe. As a decorative tree, it is so well accepted in the parks of the Old Continent that it is inconceivable nowadays not to be present in European parks. There is a splendor in many cities of Europe, including Bulgaria.

Bozhana Ribaribova