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Handkerchief Trees

Davidia involucrata


The Handkerchief Tree is a beautiful and unusual specimen tree with vivid green heart shaped leaves and showy white bracts in late spring and summer. It likes sun or partial shade and moist fertile well- drained soil. Fully hardy but needs protection from strong winds.


Botanical name

Davidia involucrata

Ultimate height and spread

20 metres x 10 metres

When to plant



Full Sun, Semi-shade


Davidia involucrata is known by many names, Handkerchief tree, Dove or Ghost tree, all evoke a desire to plant this beautiful tree. A slow growing deciduous conical tree reaching a height of approx 13m/40ft. Grown in woodland conditions it also makes a magnificent specimen on a lawn or other points of interest in a garden.

Leaves are large heart-shaped and bright green with a downy underside. Showy white bracts with black-eyed centres appear on mature trees from late spring into summer. Orange-brown peeling bark and insignificant green/purple berries in autumn.

The Davidia is hardy and prefers sun or partial shade. Providing a moist fertile well-drained soil will encourage a healthy and fulfilling tree giving much pleasure. No regular pruning is necessary and the usual weed, mulch, compost in spring is appreciated. Not suitable for a small garden
Common Name: Handkerchief, Dove, or Ghost tree
Latin Name: Davidia involucrata
Soil: Moist fertile well-drained
Habit: Conical
Position: Sun and semi-shade
Flowering period: Late spring and summer
Colour: White
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Eventual Height x Spread: 20m x 10m / 60ft x 30ft
Special features: Good year round interest


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