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TH: Royal Paulownia - The Princess-tree ...

 Post-To: Tree-House@Majordomo.Flora.Com (Community Forestry) ----------
 As promised, following are a couple of excerpations from our
 favorite texts on P. tomentosa, whose name I apologize for
 incorrectly spelling recently.  After these are some current
 quotations from Finland's FOREST ListServ regarding this some-
 times worshipped, sometimes cursed species ...


 PAULOWNIA - The Princess-Tree

 Six species of the genus 'Paulownia' grow wild in China, but only
 one has a distribution and a frame warranting better acquaintance,
 particularly now that more of its early history has been discovered.
 This is P. tomentosa, sometimes called P. imperialis, an interesting
 tree in many ways and one that is cultivated on a large scale in
 southern Europe.

 This tree was particularly important in ancient China.  The first
 reports date from about the third century B.C., it being mentioned
 in the world's oldest natural history encyclopedia.  We have learned
 much more, however, from a manuscript devoted entirely to this tree,
 dating from 1049.  A number of species were cultivated at that time,
 but P. tomentosa was by far the most used.

 The reason why the ancient Chinese attached so much importance to
 the tree is now understood.  Products obtained from it were employed
 in beauty preparations.  This made devoting a book to a tree worth
 while even in those days, and it was recorded in great detail what
 parts had to be used to obtain certain effects.  Washing the skin
 and hair with infusions of Paulownia leaves and fruits ensured,
 for example, that the skin would not become ugly and the hair would
 not turn grey.  All manner of illnesses could also be treated with
 products from it, beliefs which no doubt still exist in rural China

 The wood is unusual.  In recently felled trunks it is soft enough
 to be worked with a knife, but once fully dried out -- which happens
 quickly -- it becomes hard and durable.  It was once much used for
 religious objects ...
                                          _The Glory Of The Tree_ (1966)

 Princess tree / Paulownia tomentosa, (Thunberg) Steudel

 THE royal paulownia presents a strikingly handsome appearance
 in the spring with its large pyramidal clusters of violet-colored
 flowers which fill the air for a considerable distance with their
 fragrant perfume.  Its broad, long-stalked leaves give the tree
 some resemblance to catalpa.  Introduced into this country from
 China and Japan, it has escaped from cultivation and occurs chiefly
 from southern New York and New Jersey southward to Florida and
 Texas, and occasionally in other localities where the winters are
 not too severe.  It prefers deep, rich, moist soil, and is often
 seen in yards and vacant lots in towns and villages ...

 ... The genus Paulownia is named in honor of a Russian princess,
 Anna Paulownia, daughter of Czar Paul I.  'Tomentosa' refers to
 the hairy or tomentose leaves ...

 ... It is often grown as an ornamental foliage plant farther north,
 however, by cutting it back to the ground at the end of the growing
 season.  When this is done, a single shoot will sometimes grow to
 a height of ten to twelve feet [~4-5m] during the summer, producing
 enormous leaves.
                                        _Knowing Your Trees_ (1937-1967)
 If you've read this far, think about that last paragraph -- culti-
 vating ornamental trees in the manner of a perennial flower.  Hmmm ...

 The remaining are cross-postings from the ListServ FOREST.  Richard ...

 Date:    Tue, 10 Jun 1997 16:33:34 +0800
 From:    Nelson Wong <nelson@mtc.com.my>
 Subject: Re: Paulownia cultivation in Indonesia for ethanol production
 Dear Lawrence,

> I heard on the grapevine that a German company is growing Paulownia trees in
> Indonesia to be used as biomass for ethanol production.
> Can anyone confirm this and elaborate?
> Maybe someone knows of a similar project elsewhere?

Unlikely so, from my source Indonesia is onto a major reforestation
program. One of their programs would include pulp & paper. Besides,
Paulownia is too precious a wood specie for biomass production. Maybe
others on this list can comment further on this.

God bless.

 Nelson Wong
 Date:    Tue, 10 Jun 1997 08:26:36 -0400
 From:    Fred Wright <fwright@scescape.net>
 Subject: Re: Paulownia cultivation in Indonesia for ethanol production
 [Prune] ...

Good day, all!

For my two cents worth, I have not heard of such a venture,
but would be very interested in hearing of one.  With so
much biomass avilable, I'm unaware of any particular
advantage in using paulowina for ethanol.

I have partially researched the concept of using paulowina
in various fuel programs; the low BTU output, coupled with
high kindling temp (400 C+) makes it a poor candidate.  But
it does have other uses within this discipline...

CPII is well along in its efforts to cause the establishment
of fast-growth paulownia plantations within the U.S.; the
lowest value high-volume use will be animal bedding.  Next
will come Oriented Strand Board (OSB).  Due to physical
properties, US papermakers will be a hard sell.  The hightest-
value, high-volume use will be plywood.

In friendly dispute with Mr. Wong, the fast-growth paulowina
that we are causing to be grown in the U.S. is not intended
to be a high-value commodity; it is intended to be a high-
volume product to serve a broad range of domestic uses.  It
exhibits greatest potential as a direct competitor to the
growing of pine, producing in about five years a product of
higher value than pine can produce in about twenty years.

For reference, we're demonstrating the ability to produce
about fifty tons of bone-dry chips, every four years.  Whether
growing for fuel, biomass, pulp or OSB, we think our trees
have merit.

 Fred Wright
 Aiken, SC
 Date:    Wed, 11 Jun 1997 07:27:04 +0800
 From:    Nelson Wong <nelson@mtc.com.my>
 Subject: Re: Paulownia cultivation in Indonesia for ethanol production
 Dear Fred,

 [Prune] ...

The economies on this side are still very much export driven. So
Paulownia are mostly grown for furniture manufactures. This is
especially true for the Japanese markets. There is great interest in
this species from Australia to East Asia. Indonesia is a major player in
timber products & will continue to do so. However, data pertaining to
Indonesia are hard to come by. But from the bits & pieces of information
I have on Indonesia, they are onto one of the biggest reforestation
project in the world.

God bless ;D

 Nelson Wong
 Date:    Wed, 11 Jun 1997 11:17:55 +0800
 From:    Nelson Wong <nelson@mtc.com.my>
 Subject: Re: Paulownia cultivation in Canada
 Dear Lawrence,

A list member posted a question to me as to whether Paulownia can be
cultivated in Canada. If so, where can one obtain the supply of
cuttings/seedlings in Canada. Could you or anyone on this List be of
assistance here? I'm not familiar with the situation in Canada.

Thanks again.

God bless.

 Nelson Wong
 Date:    Wed, 11 Jun 1997 14:37:27 +1000
 From:    James Lawrence <toadgully@peninsula.starway.net.au>
 Subject: Re: Paulownia cultivation in Canada
 [Prune] ...

I'm not familiar with the situation in Canada either, although if there is a
demand we could look at exporting there.

James Lawrence
TOAD GULLY GROWERS - The Paulownia Propagation People
hardy planting stock...  plantation planning and management assistance


End of FOREST Digest - 10 Jun 1997 to 11 Jun 1997

 [The preceding was an extended forward to Tree-House List, from the
 FOREST ListServ out of Finland.  Any unintentional misrepresentations,
 or other breeches of acceptable netiquette, are solely my own respon-
 sibility.  This is being presented with the objective of learning
 more about and caring for the world's trees.  RTEllsberry@Flora.Com] ...