Davidia involucrata

Handkerchief tree

Reader rating

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree

Flower colour



Colourful bark, Flowers



Skill level


photo by Dave Zubraski, copyright GAP Photos (187339)

Plant details

The common name Handkerchief tree or Dove tree, comes from the long white bracts which surround the small male flowers as they supposedly look like either handkerchiefs drying or doves resting on the branches - take your pick. It's a lovely, clean looking tree, with heart-shaped leaves and when these fall in autumn, the smooth grey bark is revealed. The flowers appear in late spring, followed by greenish brown fruit the size of golf balls. It has been given an Award of Garden Merit (AGM), which is for plants of outstanding excellence.

Family: Davidiaceae

Genus: Davidia

Species: involucrata

Plant type: Deciduous tree

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Colourful bark, Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 1500cm

Spread: 1000cm

Time to plant seeds: August to November

Reader reviews

flowering rose

The first time I saw this tree it was growing in Bristol zoo. I loved the look of the drooping leaves that looked like hankies. If I had a massive garden I would choose this tree.

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