The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The paulownia tree, also called Royal Tree, Princess Tree or Empress Tree, is a deciduous species from the family of Paulowniaceae and is native to China.  And lately, no matter what you call it, has had a lot of press for its extraordinary qualities.

Firstly, paulownia trees grow remarkably fast, with a growth-increase of more than 50cm per year. This means that the period of time until you can actually use it is not 15 years, like the average of any other timber, but noticeable shorter. Additionally its canopy width quickly will reach a size of 10 meters and therefore can shade an area rapidly.

Beyond that the type of soil is of no importance and neither represents droughts or air pollution a problem for the Royal Tree. It’s even claimed that the tree could improve the soil and resist insects.

Some other advantages of this multipurpose tree are that its pink, lavender blossoms are edible, while giving the tree a lovely look. The paulownia tree wood is of great value, as it serves as a provider for furniture, wood flooring, jewelry, music instruments and boxes.

So it seems as if the Princess of trees truly is the ace of plants and the answer to any problem.  Daniel Yepez with United Biofuels of America (UBA), a leading renewable and sustainability strategist, agrees:

“Combining multipurpose trees with with multipurpose real estate is a solid investment in today’s climate and changing world.”

Let’s keep in mind that deforestation sadly is a common topic in Costa Rica. Forests are being cut down continuously in order to provide space for cattle ranching and artificially produced plantations. At one point in the last 70 years, almost 80% of Costa Rica’s forests have vanished.

Nonetheless deforestation continues to be a worldwide problem. It evokes a loss of biodiversity, soil erosion destruction, climate change and the atmosphere, water bodies and water tables are strongly affected by it.

For this very reason deforestation has become a world-wide threat and the paulownia tree could help solving this problem.

Economically, it makes perfect sense to plant more Royal Trees, as it produces, under the right conditions, valuable timber in only a short time.

But even more important is the fact that it can assist Costa Rica’s reforestation efforts in record time, unlike any other plant could.

By Alena Kalb

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica