Keele University Arboretum
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Foxglove Tree Paulownia tomentosa
A native of China introduced to the UK in 1838. It is a member of the Figwort family Scrophulariaceae. The genus name commemorates Anna Paulown, princess of the Netherlands 1795-1865.
The bark of young trees is a purplish-grey while the leaves are large (35 x 25cm) densely hairy, pale green with prominent veins (similar to Hybrid Catalpa). The flowers, resembling those of a Foxglove, are pale violet, 6cm long, emerging before the leaves. Unfortunately the flower buds are present throughout the winter so frosts can affect the degree of flowering in more northern parts - as here. The fruit is a dry egg-shaped capsule 3–4 cm long, containing numerous tiny seeds. The seeds are winged and disperse by wind and water. In areas suitable for growth, such as the Unites States, it can become an invasive species.
At Keele : One to the side of the Library; tag 1017; square M9 ; compartment 30e.