Herb: Foxglove Tree

Latin name: Paulownia tomentosa

Synonyms: Bignonia tomentosa, Paulownia imperialis, Paulownia recurva

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Medicinal use of Foxglove Tree:

A decoction of the leaves is used to wash foul ulcers and is also said to promote the growth of hair and prevent greying. The leaves are also poulticed onto bruises. The leaf juice is used in the treatment of warts. The flowers are used in the treatment of skin ailments. A tincture of the inner bark is used in the treatment of fevers and delirium. It is astringent and vermifuge.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Woods, 1300 - 2000 metres in W. China.

Edible parts of Foxglove Tree:

Leaves - cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails. Flowers. Eaten with miso.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - not attacked by insects. Used for making boxes, clogs, furniture, musical instruments etc. Good for posts and beams in construction. A source of charcoal.

Propagation of Foxglove Tree:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a greenhouse at 15 - 20C. The seed requires light for germination. Fair to good germination. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a cold frame for its first year and plant out in late spring. Root cuttings 4cm long in December. Good percentage.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods, 1300 - 2000 metres in W. China.

Known hazards of Paulownia tomentosa:

The plant contains some potentially toxic compounds.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.