Empress Trees grow in a variety of conditions, from Mexico all the way up into parts of Canada. They grow in almost any soil, needing little water plus they resist pests and disease. With a rapid growth rate, the Empress tree can reach 50 feet in height with an equal spread in an open landscape. Most trees are seen 30 to 40 feet tall and wide. Unlike some fast growing trees that have short life spans, a healthy Empress tree can live for 80 to 100 years. Empress Trees are noted for its profuse bloom of fragrant, tubular, funnel-shaped, pinkish-lavender flowers (to 2” long) with interior dark purple spotting and creamy yellow striping. Flowers appear in spring in clusters (to 14” long) before the foliage so they stand out nicely, especially against an evergreen background. Flower aroma is reminiscent of vanilla. Flowers are edible and are sometimes added to salads. Flowers are followed by oval, woody, dehiscent seed capsules that emerge sticky green and ripen to brown in fall, at which point they split open releasing abundant winged seeds. This native of China gives a most dramatic, coarse-textured appearance, with its huge catalpa-like heart-shaped leaves and large clusters of lavender flowers in the spring. Traditionally, when Japanese couples have a daughter, they plant a Paulownia tree. When the daughter is ready to marry, they cut down the tree and make a dowry chest, furniture and other items out of it for wedding gifts. Paulownia trees are believed to bring Good Fortune to the household and all who enter.