Dove tree Davidia convolucrataThis small deciduous tree from China, also called the Handerchief Tree, is a treasure with its large creamy white flowers that droop from its branches in mid- to late-spring. The “flowers” consist of two bracts wrapped around a cluster of tiny round yellow flowers. The larger bract, four to seven inches long, hangs downward and flutters in the breeze, while the shorter one, two to three inches long droops from the top. Unfortunately the trees take a decade or two to reach the flowering stage and tend to bloom well every other year rather than yearly. The deep green heart-shaped leaves are fragrant, about five inches long and produce light shade. The orange-brown bark is attractive with its scaly pattern. A Dove tree may be difficult to find but it is a treasure in the garden.

Type: Deciduous flowering tree

Outstanding Feature: Flowers in spring

Form: Vase-shaped

Growth Rate: Medium to slow

Bloom: Flowers consisting of two bracts, one four to seven inches, the other two to three inches, wrapped around a cluster of small, round yellow flowers; mid- to late-spring.

Size: 20-40’ H

Light: Light shade; tolerates full sun if sufficient moisture is available.

Soil: Fertile, evenly moist, well-drained; pH 5.5-6.5

Hardiness: Zones 6-8

Care: Prune in winter if necessary.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed (germination takes two years); softwood cuttings in autumn; hardwood cuttings in winter.

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By Karen