Odd Tree

Asked August 17, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

Hi, we purchased this "tree" a couple of years ago. It always grows during the summer, but then dies down in the winter. This year it is 11 feet tall. It's supposed to get flowers on it, but it never has. Do you know what kind of tree or plant this it?

Goodhue County Minnesota

2 Responses

Well, I'm pretty sure this isn't a tree. The photos are too blurry to make out much detail.

Where did you purchase it? Sometimes the Big Box Stores sell plants that are not hardy in our zone. Usually these plants simply die over the winter but some may be killed back to the ground but the roots remain alive. New growth will sprout for some years but the plant will never achieve it's potential.

Does this plant ever flower? If so what do the flowers look like and where do they grow on the plant (at the top, between the stem and the leaves, etc?).

Are the leaves or stems hairy?

Is the main stem (or trunk) hollow?

Your answers to these questions will help narrow down the search.

Another expert has suggested that this is Paulownia tomentosa (common names empress tree, princess tree or foxglove tree). It's considered invasive though it might not be in Minnesota since if it dies to the ground each winter.