Meet the Empress
“BONAFIDE MIRACLE TREE”
Fastest-growing tree in the world; matures in 7-10 years
Non-invasive, non-GMO, naturally occurring
Produces quality lightweight hardwood lumber
Regrows multiple times after harvest without replanting
Perfect for intercropping, permaculture and silvopasture
Extremely efficient at sequestering carbon
Replenishes the soil by fixing nitrogen through leaves and roots
Blossoms full of nectar loved by pollinating insects
The Empress Splendor tree is the fastest-growing tree in the world (Guinness Book of World Records) reaching hardwood maturity within 10 years.
It is a member of the Paulownia genus, a sacred tree of the Orient, long revered for its fast growth, quality wood and uses in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. In Japan, it is the emblem of the prime minister.
Paulownia was once native to North America but is not well known here. The Empress Splendor trees grown by World Tree are non-invasive, hybrids of the fortunei and elongata species, that have deep tri-taproot systems that do not compete with other plants around it. They can grow in many parts of the United States and Western Canada, where the primary use is lumber. World Tree is also planting in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico where it is commonly intercropped with plants such as coffee, cacao and corn.
Empress Splendor trees are not genetically modified. They are bred by conventional methods used by farmers for thousands of years.
The variety of ecosystem services provided by the Empress Splendor tree are virtually unsurpassed by any other tree. In a recent report (link the NB report), the species was found to be one of the most efficient trees on the planet for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and returning it to the soil, making it a highly effective tool in reversing climate change. One acre of trees can absorb up to 90 tons of carbon per year, more than enough to offset the average carbon footprint of 4 people.
The Empress also has unique nitrogen-fixing properties and can naturally return nitrogen to depleted soil via its leaves and root systems. The carbon and nitrogen rich soil can retrain water more efficiently and provide a much more robust and resilient environment for all the plants and trees in the area.
The springtime blossoms of the Empress tree are highly “nectariferous” providing abundant nectar to pollinating insects including honey bees. They therefore have a critical role to play in maintaining healthy agricultural systems, especially when planted with or close to other flowering crops such as coffee.
They do not respond well to chemical products, preferring instead organic farming methods and the use of natural fertilizers such as chicken manure.
The Empress tree is a ‘wet’ wood which makes it naturally fire and insect resistant. It is also rot resistant and hypoallergenic, with a high R value.
From planting to harvest in 10 years
World Tree is planting Empress Splendor trees with select farmers and landowners in North and Latin America. We have 18 of our own non-invasive varieties and we select the best strain based on the farmer’s location. In North America, we plant in altitudes of less than 2,200 feet with summer temperatures of 70°F (21°C) and above for at least 5-6 months a year. In locations closer to the equator, planting takes place often at higher altitudes.
The trees can grow well in poor soil conditions, including soil degraded from other tree crops such as pine, or in unused cattle grazing areas. The trees typically grow 10-20 feet in the first year and can reach maturity in 10 years.
World Tree works closely with the farmers to ensure maximum growth and health of the trees. Learn more about our farmer program.
After 10 years of growth, World Tree harvests the trees and sells the lumber. One of the amazing properties of the tree is that it regrows from the stump very quickly after harvesting and will regrow itself up to 7 times after being cut down. This makes it a sustainable source of lumber for generations to come.
Record breaking growth
The Empress Splendor is the fastest-growing tree in the world, growing up to 20 feet in the first year and reaching maturity in just 10 years.
This tree is just 4 years old.
Part of the ecosystem
The flowers of the Empress tree are rich in nectar, attracting honey bees.
The large leaves provide light and shelter for other plants and the deep roots revitalize the soil.
Carbon eating machine
One of the most efficient trees on the planet at carbon sequestration.
Helps reverse global warming, absorbing enough CO2 annually to offset a family of 4.
Carbon offset projects under development.
Regenerates 7 times
When you cut down an Empress tree it regrows from the stump.
An Empress tree will regenerate up to 7 times, continuing to absorb carbon for over 50 years.