Whether known as the Handkerchief Tree or Dove Tree it is well-named and much-loved.
Discovered in China by Père David in 1869 and introduced in 1904 this is one of the great beauties of the plant world.
The variety vilmoriniana is often specified but there is little or nothing to choose between this and its parent.
Its common names derive from the large white bracts which appear in May.
These are followed by large oval fruits in autumn.
Foliage and habit are similar to those of the lime. A medium to large tree it is very good for parks and does best in a fairly sheltered position.
On a historical note it first flowered in England in 1911 on Vieitch’s Coombe Wood Nursery.
It thrives best on deep fertile soil.
Mature height: 7-12m
Mature spread: 5-8m