Tongpu 桐譜 "Notes on the paulownia" is a book on the cultivation of the tree Paulownia tomentosa (empress tree, princess tree, foxglove tree) written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Chen Zhu 陳翥 (1009-1061), courtesy name Zixiang 子翔, style Xian'aozi 咸聱子, Tongzhujun 桐竹君 or Tongling Yimin 銅陵逸民, from Tongling 銅陵 (in today's Anhui province). The book is quite short and was finished in 1049.
The idea to write a book on the Paulownia tree came into Chen's mind because he had a garden behind his house where he raised bamboos and tong trees. While there were already books on tea and bamboo cultivation, no such text existed for the popular tong tree. The designation tong tree is very ambiguous, and Chen dedicates a particular chapter (2 Leishu 類屬) to the definition of seven types of trees, most of them of very different species, families and even orders. Zeng (1994) identifes the types/kinds/species as follows, even if Chen Zhu does not correctly tell apart the different species (Xuan 2002):
|baihua tong 白花桐, baihua paotong 白花泡桐||Paulownia fortunei, fam. Paulowniaceae||dragontree, Fortune's empress tree - this is the central species|
|zihua tong 紫花桐, mao paotong 毛泡桐||Paulownia tomentosa, fam. Paulowniaceae||princess tree, empress tree, foxglove-tree|
|zhen tong 貞桐(赬)||Clerodendrum japonicum, fam. Asteridae||glorybower, bagflower, bleeding-heart|
|nan tong 赧桐||?|
|youtong 油桐||Vernicia fordii, fam. Euphorbiaceae||tung oil tree|
|citong 刺桐||Erythrina variegata, fam. Fabaceae||tiger's claw, Indian coral tree|
|wutong 梧桐||Firmiana simplex, fam. Malvaceae||Chinese parasol tree, Chinese parasol tree, or wutong|
Chen's book has 14 chapters explaining the origins of cultivation, the sub-types of the species, cultivation methods, the decorative and material use of the tree, and bringing together various lyrical and prose writings on the tree.
Another book of the title was written during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Ding Fu 丁黼 (1166-1236). It is mentioned in the bibliographical chapter of the local gazetteer Jiangnan tongzhi 江南通志 from the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795), but is lost today.