Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’

dove tree

handkerchief tree

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Outstanding Qualities

Davidia involucrata is truly enchanting in full flower, so much so that its reputation led the great plant explorer E. H. Wilson to travel for two years in China to find it and collect its seed. In late May and early June, it is draped with 7-inch-long white bracts that enclose its smaller flowers. Handkerchiefs, doves -- these dramatic blossoms have earned it such evocative common names. The cultivar 'Somona' begins to bloom at about two years old, whereas seedling-grown plants of this species may take ten years to begin flowering. Dove tree also has cinnamon colored bark that provides winter interest. Plant dove tree with rhododendrons, Japanese maples and shade-loving perennials.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 40 ft. 0 in. (12.19 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 40 ft. 0 in. (12.19 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Wildlife Associations: bees

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: chartreuse, gold, burgundy

Great Color Partners: cream, dark green, silver

Culture Notes
Dove tree prefers well-drained soils, but will tolerate sandy or clay soil with adequate drainage. The best flowering will develop in full sun to light or open shade. Occasional watering is appreciated during dry weather.