Davidia Involucrata, Or Dove Tree: Eye Catching 7-Inch Long White Bracts

Davidia Involucrata, Or Dove Tree: Eye Catching 7-Inch Long White Bracts

Dove Tree

Photo Compliments of Jura Wanderer

Davidia involucrate ‘Somona’ is more commonly referred to as the dove tree, or sometimes handkerchief tree is grown for its truly impressive flowers. This is a deciduous tree typically reaches a height of 20 to 40 feet with a broad pyramidal habit. The bloom period is late May to early June when it is draped with 7-inch-long white bracts that enclose its smaller flowers. It is the dramatic blossoms of the dove tree that have earned it such evocative common names. The showy parts of the bloom are the large oval-rounded showy white bracts (6 to 7 inches long). The bracts flutter in the slightest breeze, and, from a distance look like white doves sitting in the tree, hence the common name.

Flowers are followed by round, greenish-brown, golf ball-sized fruits on 2 to 3 inch stems. Toothed, broad oval, red-stalked, bright green leaves (3 to 6 inches in length) are heart-shaped at the base. Variable fall color ranges from undistinguished dull pastels to bright oranges and reds.

The special benefit of the cultivar ‘Somona’ is that it begins to bloom at about two years of age. An added benefit is the cinnamon colored bark that provides winter interest. You may get the most pleasing results when it is planted with rhododendrons, Japanese maples, or shade loving perennials.

How To Make Your Davidia Involucrata Thrive

You will get your best results when this tree is grown in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Variety selection for you Hardiness Zone is really crucial. Davidia involucrate’Somona’ is hardy to Zone 6 with the advantage of a much sooner bloom time , it blooms within two years, Davidia involucrata var. vilmoriniana is winter hardy to Zone 5, however the time to first bloom is 10 years.

General Davidia Involucrata Information

Pests & Diseases

There are no serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

This should be used as a specimen tree in your landscape.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Cornaceae
  • Plant Type: Tree
  • Foliage Type: Deciduous
  • Height: 20 to 40 feet
  • Spread: 20 to 40 feet
  • Bloom Time: April to May
  • Bloom Description: Red (flowers) and white (bracts)
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 8
  • Sun: Full sun to open shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Flowering Tree

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  1. Angela Clark says:

    Thank you for your comprehensive information about Davidia. I have watched the specimen at the Arboretum for years and have recently fallen in love with a fastigiate form. Yours was the only site that gave me a good indication of fall colour performance. Enjoy your hikes.

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