… that the tall, straight trees with huge leaves and beautiful violet blossoms that we see beside the Gata road and in several other sites in Jávea are called “Paulownia” ?
This tree was named in honour of the 18th century Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, Queen consort of the Netherlands. Although it is native to China, Laos and Vietnam, Paulownia has long been commercially cultivated in Korea and Japan. It is known in English as the Empress tree, Princess Tree, Sapphire Princess, Sapphire Dragon and Foxglove tree.
Several species and hybrids of Paulownia have been introduced to Spain in recent years. It is said to be the fastest-growing hardwood tree, being harvested after 8 years. After harvesting, new trees sprout from the roots. It can be trained to grow tall and straight without knots and produces a wood known as “kiri”. This is fine-grained and very light, but also strong and ideal for the manufacture of many items such as lightweight furniture, guitars, surf boards, skis, boxes and even bee-hives. It is resistant to pests and is fire resistant up to 400ºC. Its foliage can be used for animal feed or biofuels and its flowers attract honey bees.
In short, it could become a very valuable crop. Xàbia’s agricultural landscape has changed many times over its long history and one day the fragrance of Paulownia flowers may replace the perfume of the orange blossom we smell today.