Headlines of Yore

Stealing Royal Paulownia trees used to be a thing people got arrested for in Fairmount Park

Those thefts don’t happen much anymore, officials say, but people do sneak in and take fruit or edible plants.

The large Paulownia in Cloverly Park is renowned throughout Pa.

The large Paulownia in Cloverly Park is renowned throughout Pa.

Scott Wade / Monumental Trees

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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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