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DAVIDIA involucrata

Image of Davidia involucrata

Jesse Saylor

Family

Nyssaceae

Botanical Name

DAVIDIA involucrata

Plant Common Name

Dovetree

General Description

Large white flower bracts flutter from the branches of this medium-sized deciduous tree in spring, suggesting a flock of doves. Davidia involucrata is native to forests of central and western China.

The rather large, heart-shaped leaves of this hardy tree are bright green with fuzzy undersides. The leaves of variety vilmoriniana have little or no fuzz. Small, spherical, brush-like flower clusters nestle between pairs of drooping, porcelain-white, leaf-shaped bracts in mid to late spring. Flowering may be sparse some years. The flowers are followed by green, purple-flushed, pingpong-ball-sized fruits, each housing a bony nut.

This oval-crowned, single- or multi-trunked tree has a smooth gray-brown that exfoliates with age, exposing showy copper-tinged underlayers.

Dove tree thrives in full to partial sun and well-drained, humus-rich soil. Plant it where it has ample room to grow, as it resents restrictive pruning. It makes a breathtaking specimen tree for a residential or public garden, perhaps with a backdrop of conifers to accentuate its white bracts. Seed-propagated plants may take 10 or more years from germination to bloom. Most cultivated dove trees belong to variety vilmoriniana, which is said to be hardier than other members of the species.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    35'-50' / 10.7m - 15.2m

  • Width

    20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Green, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Orange, Copper, Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No