The dove tree, also known as handkerchief tree, is an exquisitely beautiful and exotic tree from China and is the only species in its genus and forms a rounded tree that eventually grows 10–12 metres tall. In spring pairs of long white petal-like bracts frame a ball-shaped cluster of flowers. The bracts are held well above the leaves, making the tree look as though it were covered with white doves. The large roundish, pointed, rich green leaves are up to 12 centimetres long and are very attractive in their own right.
If you plant this beautiful and exotic tree as an ornamental, keep in mind that the tree will not flower until it is nearly ten years old and that some trees blossom irregularly. If you plant it as a shade tree, the showy bracts will be a bonus whenever they appear.
Once established, most trees need little if any fertilizer provided they are growing in good garden soil. If soil is poor, or if trees are recovering from pest or disease problems, fertilizing established trees in early spring can be beneficial.
Grow dove tree in light shade in deep, rich soil enriched with peat moss or leaf mold. Although it will tolerate full sun if the soil is kept evenly moist. They need shelter from wind.
The Dove tree or handkerchief tree is an excellent tree for the small to medium sized garden. Trained on a single trunk it makes a wonderful specimen and when in full flower can be almost ghostlike.