Princess or Empress Tree; Pawlonia
(INN) Rank 1
Paulownia tomentosa* / Figwort Family
The pretty flowers of the Paulownia tree are often seen along highways in the late April. The clusters of large, pale purple flowers are quite showy. The dry, brown seedpods from the previous year often remain on the tree throughout the spring. This tree has huge leaves when it is small. Despite the pretty flowers, it can become a weedy pest. A close-up of flowers follows in next photo.
Perennial - Tree
Where seen:Oak Ridge, Great Smoky Mountains NP, Warriors' Path SP, widespread