Dove Tree

By: C. Colston Burrell
A collector's favorite - the dove tree.

The rather slow-growing dove tree is somewhat of a collector's item. It is rarely available but is a choice selection for those with patience and lots of space. It can take 10 years or more before reaching flowering size and eventually attains 20 to 40 feet in height and width.

Description of dove tree: A broadly pyramidal shade tree, it has large, toothed, deciduous leaves, medium green above and silvery below. It has no notable fall color. The dove tree's main attraction is its blooms, or rather the bracts that surround them. Two pure white leaves, one longer than the other, hang down gracefully around a central ball of small, yellow true flowers. The effect is quite unique, like a flock of birds in flight or a series of handkerchiefs set out to dry. It is the bracts that give the tree its common names of dove tree, ghost tree, and handkerchief tree.


How to grow dove tree: This tree does best in rich, deep loam and prefers partial shade when young, full sun at adulthood. It is often grown with a fast-growing but short-lived tree, such as a poplar, which will fill in for the slow-growing dove tree until it reaches maturity.

Uses for dove tree: This is a tree of great beauty and grace, deserving a spot of special merit, and is used almost uniquely as an accent or specimen tree.

Dove tree related varieties: Davidia involucrata vilmoriniana is a hardier form (zone 5).

Scientific name for dove tree: Davidia involucrata


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