Davidia involucrata - Dove tree, Handkerchief Tree

  • Rarely cultivated but rather distinctive, Davidia grows into a large tree so it requires space. It does takes time for the plant to grow to a grand size. However, in the meantime it will flower. It has large, oval, toothed leaves which turn yellow - orange, sometimes rusty-yellow in Autumn. It has in fact red, globular flowers which are further highlighted by its surrounding, held by a pair of white bracts, similar to "hanging handkerchiefs", hence the name. These are followed by another attraction: 2-3cm long, green then brown, hanging fruits. These fruits remain on the tree until mid-Winter and so gives some Winter value to the garden. It prefers soil with good drainage.  It is a fast growing species, especially when young. We have 10cm tall, freshly potted starter plants available (expected growth in 2020 is about 50cm).


 Also known as:  Handkerchief Tree

 Native to:    China

 Family:    Cornaceae - Dogwood Family

 Habit (UK conditions):  deciduous large tree

 Typical size in 10 years (UK conditions):  6 x 3m

 Main value:   flowers

 Flowers are:   globular red, surrounded by white bracts

 Flowering period:  May-June

 Autumn coloration:  yellow, orange

 Preferences:   full sun or half shade, moderate watering, it prefers soil with good drainage

 Hardiness:   fully hardy in most of the UK and West and South Europe

 Known hazards:    none to our knowledge

 Edible uses:  none to our knowledge


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