Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa)
Paulownia was named after Queen Anna Pavlovna of Russia (1795-1865), and is sometimes called Royal Paulownia or Princess Tree. Paulownia or the other Balsa. Paulownia is used in applications where a lightweight (yet proportionately strong) wood is needed. It’s widely used in Japan for construction of the koto (a stringed musical instrument), as well as other household items, where the wood is referred to as Kiri. Paulownia is one of the fastest growing trees in the world, capable of growth rates of well over seven feet per year as a seedling! It’s highly appreciated and cultivated in Asia, native to eastern Asia; also planted in eastern North America . Uses include musical instruments (electric guitar bodies), clogs, carvings, and other small specialty items. Given its straight grain and light weight, Paulownia is extremely easy to work. However, due to a high silica content in some trees, the wood can have a strong blunting effect on cutting edges. Takes a wide variety of glues, stains, and finishes well. Heartwood typically a pale grayish brown, sometimes with a reddish or purplish hue. Pale white sapwood not clearly demarcated from heartwood. Overall appearance (both the wood and the tree itself) is not too unlike Catalpa another lightweight and porous hardwood.