Dove tree

This front yard tree on the corner of NW 22nd Ave and Flanders caught my eye a few weeks ago.


The “flowers” of this rare dove tree, Davidia involucrata, are actually bracts like those of dogwoods.  Those of the dove tree are distinctive in being asymmetrical.   It’s also known as handkerchief tree or ghost tree.  Although related to dogwoods this species originally from China is within the tupelo family, Nyssaceae.

If you want one of these, you should know that young trees do not produce flowers.  This is for those who can handle delayed gratification only — approximately 10 years!  The cultivar ‘Sonoma’ is supposed to produce flowers at only 2 to 3 years of age.


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Here’s some additional information I found on this tree from the Oregon State University plant identification website:

  • Eventual height of 20 to 40 feet
  • Deciduous tree with alternate leaves and yellow fall color
  • Hardy to USDA zone 6
  • Sun to part shade, rich well-drained soil.
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8 Responses to Dove tree

  1. Julie Fukuda says:

    The Jiyu Gakkuen campus has an old Dove tree up near the entrance. I think it must have been brought from China back when the school was first built. They also have a huge Dawn Redwood that must have come at the same time back when they were first discovered not to be extinct. Luckily the people who planted them had great vision and both were planted where they would not only do best, but never have to be trimmed back to make room for other buildings. Before I ever saw the flowers, I noticed a resemblance to the dogwood family.

  2. norie says:

    Very neat! Not only am I learning the names of all these trees, I’m learning a lot of great new plant terminology! xoNorie

  3. holly says:

    I love this!! So pretty!

  4. annamadeit says:

    Someone told me it smells a little like cat-pee when in bloom, which even though I love the looks of them admittedly turned me off a bit. Did you notice anything like that? I might have to venture down to see for myself, as I’ve actually never been close to one when in bloom.

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