This tree, which is in rather poor condition, is along the small dropoff drive for Branscomb Quadrangle. It was probably planted by the Vanderbilt Garden Club in the 1960's soon after Branscomb Quadrangle was built.
Princess tree is a non-native tree with several distinguishing traits. The leaves
range in size from moderate on large trees to enormous on saplings. They are probably the largest simple (i.e. not compound) leaves of any tree that grows around here. They are typically arranged oppositely on the twig
, but they can also be in whorls of more than two leaves
. The bluish-purple, tubular flowers
are quite pretty. They develop into pods
that split open
to disperse small black seeds. From a distance, the clusters of pods
look a bit like grapes.
Princess tree is an invasive species often seen growing along roads. In this area it is not as aggressive as other invasives such as tree of heaven, privet, and bush honeysuckle, but in east Tennessee it is a more serious problem. In addition to spreading easily, it also regrows rapidly from the stump when cut down.
This particular tree is described on p. 56 of The Trees of Vanderbilt