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a genus of plants of the family Scrophulariaceae (sometimes attributed to the family Bignoniaceae). The tall deciduous trees have large, opposite leaves. The flowers are in terminal panicles, and the fruit is a capsule with small winged seeds.
There are approximately ten species of Paulownia, distributed primarily in East Asia. The kiri (P. tomentosa) is cultivated in gardens and parks throughout Europe. The tree is 15 to 20 m tall and has a broad crown. Its large, entire leaves, which are borne on long stems, measure up to 30 cm in length and 25 cm across. The pale violet flowers are in erect pyramidal inflorescences. Flowering occurs before leaf appearance. Sometimes the capsules remain on the tree for a year. In the USSR the kiri is cultivated in the Caucasus, on the southern shore of the Crimea, and in the southern and western Ukraine. Farther north, the tree is damaged by frost.
Kiri wood is light and soft. In China and Japan it is used for making musical instruments, furniture, and small articles.