Introduction to Paulownia

Paulownia tree is by far the fastest growing hardwood tree in the world, allowing commercial returns within three years.

paulownia vs oak

Paulownia is native to Southeast Asia but it is used throughout the World with a number of uses from construction, to wooden surfboards, to bio-fuel.

Due to its speed of growth, Paulownia has become a more reliable hardwood, guaranteed to grow quickly and satisfy increasing demands around the World.

Research into Paulownia only really started when deforestation in North America became an issue and demand began to develop faster growing trees.

The Paulownia tree has deep roots, perfect for stability, making it strong and reliable and perfect for growing in areas of steep inclines where trees would not normally grow.
Due to Paulownia’s deep roots it also has a greater tolerance to wind, therefore allowing it to grow and flourish in areas where forests may have already failed.

The Paulownia trees are able to grow in areas that lack good quality soil and therefore perfect for reforestation and afforestation across the world; with its ease of growth, the Paulownia tree can quickly reforest an area. However, the success of a Paulownia plantation is not a miracle and requires caring. We suggest to carry the necessary soil studies in order to maximize the performance of your paulownia plantation.

About Paulownia Wood

Paulownia wood - iPaulownia

Paulownia wood is practically knot free, which greatly reduces wastage and makes it an excellent choice for many buyers. Paulownia trees are disease resistant and have a very high temperature resistance – making Paulownia wood almost bullet proof to the elements.

Used in Asia for over 1,000 years, Paulownia is a very good insulator, has high temperature resistance and its combustion temperature is almost double that of many conventional hard and soft woods.

In real terms, it is widely acknowledged that Paulownia is the tree of the future.

However, NOT all paulownias are the same. There are more than 17 different registered species, just like olives or grapes. For this reason, it is important that you understand the different chacarteristics of each specie and take professional advice on which paulownia will suit you best.

General Paulownia Wood Characteristics

Lightwood paulownia wood - iPaulownia

Light weight

Paulownia wood is the lightest known timber other than balsa. It is also named the Aluminium of Timber. It is around two thirds of the weight of the lightest commercial wood currently being grown in Europe. Paulownia wood is one third of the weight of Oak and half the weight of Pine.


Paulownia wood has the highest strenght to weight ratio of any wood in the world.  Auburn University tested the strenght of 288 kg/m3. against balsa with an average weight of 160 kg/m3.

Strength of modus rupture mor (psi)

Strength paulownia wood - iPaulownia


Paulownia………5750           Source Dr. R.C. Tang, Auburn University

Plantation grown Paulownia is mostly knot free and holds nails and screws well without requiring pilot holes to be drilled. Both yellow poplar and white pine wood have proven to split before Paulownia wood.


Paulownia wood is a very good insulator. Paulownia constructed log homes are said to have twice the “R” factor as pine or oak wood. This temperature resistance serves to give the wood a high fire resistance too with ignition temperature approximately 400ºC, almost twice as high as many conventional hard and soft woods.

Other Paulownia Wood characteristics

Uses of Paulownia Wood

Persiana paulownia

Paulownia wood has been used for a wide variety of purposes in China and Japan for more than 2500 years. Australia, the US, and now Europe are becoming principal consumers due to its unique characteristics. The main common products are:

Surfboard 2 paulownia

The popularity of paulownia wooden surfboards has been on the increase in recent years with technology playing a part in producing a quality sustainable products. Paulownia is the premier wood for producing all types of watersport equipmens because it has a good weight to strength ratio, is very light and absorbs less salt water than many other types of wood. Paulownia surfboards are usually finished with a natural oil which prevents damage from sun on the board and salt drying on the surface. It has low maintenance and can easily be made at home.

A further attraction with paulownia wooden surfboards, kayaks and boats is the small environmental impact compared with fibreglass products, which are recognised as pollutants with long decomposition time.

iPaulownia has carried out different official Paulownia timber studies related to our specific clone variety. To know more about the specific characteristics of our paulownia trees, please contact us.