February 8, 2023
Davidia involucrata © onlineflowergarden.com

Davidia involucrata

Davidia involucrata is also known as the Handkerchief Tree, Dove Tree, Ghost Tree, Pocket Handkerchief Tree. It is from the Nyssaceae family of plants and is native to Southwest China.

As you can see from some of the common names, it is an unusual looking flowering tree. Actually the white handkerchief-looking flowers are the bracts holding the flower and not the flower itself.

Davidia involucrata flowers are very small about 2cm or less than an inch. Each flower has two creamy-white bracts that could be as long as 20cm or 8in. Davidia involucrata flowers in summer. They are followed by ovoid greenish-brown, hard nut fruits in autumn. Each nut contains three to six seeds. Younger plants may not flower until they are established. Davidia involucrata leaves are medium green very bright looking and ovate.

Davidia involucrata
Davidia involucrata

Davidia involucrata was named after Father Armand David or Père David in French (1826-1900), a French missionary and naturalist. He lived in China. In 1869 he noted it in his writings after observing the tree, later he sent dried samples to France and in 1871 it was noted by Henri Baillon as a new genus.

Plant Davidia involucrata is easy to grow. It is moderately fast-growing. Grow it in the sun or partial shade. Plant it in organically-rich, moist but well-drained soil. It can grow to 25m or 82ft high. Propagate by seed or hardwood cuttings. It is pest-free and disease-free making it easier to maintain. Does not require much pruning except for clearing dead or diseased branches.

Davidia involucrata
Davidia involucrata at kew Garden

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