The Paulownia tree (Paulownia Tomentosa), also known as Kiri and the Empress Tree, originates from China, and its characteristics are very useful against planetary pollution, desertification, and global warming. It is capable of purifying infertile soil and absorbing 10 times more CO2 than any other species. As well as providing us with therapeutic properties, such as anti-viral action on the Enterovirus 71, it inhibits the proliferation of monocytic leukaemia cells in humans, and its fruit contains potential anti-inflammatory effects.
At the end of the 1970s, work began on genetic improvement which permitted the creation of a new hybrid, considerably bettering its resistance to pests and disease, and improving its capacity to maintain its environment unaltered and neighbouring species of tree unaffected.
Its leaves are 40cm wide and it can grow to a height of 27 metres. It is the fastest growing tree on the planet. It quickly regenerates roots and its growth basin, making it resistant to fire and tolerant to pollution. There is no need for replanting as after pruning it reshoots and makes up to 7 times more stems. It prospers in contaminated soil and water and purifies the land where it grows by way of its nitrogen-rich leaves, which give nutrients to the ground when they fall and decompose. However, its growth is very slow in these conditions. For favourable growth it requires deep, well-drained soil, preferably sandy. It does not tolerate salty soil. It is capable of growing on poor or eroded land a long as it has organic manure and water for root development, essential for the first 21 days after planting. After that, it can resist moderately dry conditions. It is adaptable to a wide variety of climates, tolerating extreme temperatures from -20º C to 45º C, its optimal temperature being 20º C. Its main characteristic is its efficiency to carry out photosynthesis: an adult tree can capture up to 21.7 kg of CO2 every day, which converts to 6 kg of oxygen. Its only limit is the altitude of the land, as it will not grow in areas above 2000 metres. Its nitrogen-rich leaves make a good compost and very good for fodder due to the high nutritional content.
Its wood is of high quality, although one of it uses is in the manufacture of biomass for power stations and domestic heating. The wood is crushed and pressed into pellets, an excellent solid bio-fuel and a good substitute for coal, and with neutral CO2 emissions.
For some years now, various projects of extensive plantation have been coming to light in countries such as Mexico and Argentina, and in Texas, to purify the soil and recover its properties, and to combat environmental pollution. It is an excellent initiative which we would do well to heed in the endeavour to recover land degraded from our improper usage.
Information on its medicinal properties: