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Large tree with a broad crown. Leaves deciduous, ovate to cordate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface densely hairy or tomentose, margins entire to undulate, apex acute. Inflorescences broadly conical, to 80 cm long. Flowers hermaphrodite; calyx deeply lobed, largely glabrous; corolla purple-white with two conspicuous longitudinal folds, tubular to campanulate, 5–7.5 cm long. Capsule ellipsoid, initially covered with stellate tomentum, ~4 cm long. Flowering March to April, fruiting July to August (China). Hong et al. 1998. Distribution CHINA: Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, Zhejiang; TAIWAN. Habitat Secondary forest below 1200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Hong et al. 1998; NT547. Taxonomic note Paulownia ×taiwaniana is intermediate between P. kawakamii and P. fortunei, and is a hybrid between these two species (Hong et al. 1998).
Although of hybrid origin Paulownia ×taiwaniana is apparently widely cultivated in Taiwan and elsewhere in the tropics and subtropics, and is grown from seed to give recognisably similar seedlings. It is noted for its large, richly coloured flowers that are heavily spotted with purple in the throat. In our area it seems to be rather scarce, but it has been grown at Kew since 1979 when seeds were received from the Taipei Botanic Garden and Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. This accession is now represented by two trees that have developed from root suckers, each over 10 m tall (though one is much younger than the other). Flowering up to now has been very sparse and insignificant, but both were bearing abundant buds in January 2008, which expanded into a good display of flowers in May. Paulownia ×taiwaniana has also been introduced as seed from a wild tree growing at Taroko in eastern Taiwan, by Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones (BSWJ 7134), which formed a broad-crowned specimen of 17 m, with leaves up to 28 cm long (Crûg Farm Plants 2007–2008). In trials in China it was found to be one of the less hardy members of the genus, and like its parent P. kawakamii, cannot tolerate temperatures much below –10 °C without significant damage (staff of the Chinese Academy of Forestry 1986). In growing on seedlings of BSWJ 7134 Bleddyn Wynn-Jones (pers. comm. 2007) has found that they need heat in summer to enable them to form a woody stem; without it they tend to die back to a lower bud.
P. tomentosa (Thunb.) Steud. B102, S354, K362