The large Paulownia in Cloverly Park is renowned throughout Pa.

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With large flowers that come in varying shades, the Paulownia tomentosa is not native to the Eastern United States, but it grows all over the place.

Also known as a foxglove or royal empress tree, the species is originally from China. In that nation, its hardwood is prized — to the point where the sale price is high enough to incentivize theft.

Here’s the story of how often it happened in Fairmount Park.

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Avi Wolfman-Arent

Avi Wolfman-Arent is a host on 90.9 FM and an education reporter with WHYY News, where he's worked since 2014. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and education technology...