Plant of The Month: June 2021

Plant of The Month: June 2021

Our team are always on the look out for new developments in the gardens. Each month, our Living Collections Manager, Graham, will be sharing some plants of interest with us.

June 2021: Davidia involucrate

Currently looking beautiful at the foot of Laundry Brae is Davidia involucrate also called the dove-tree, handkerchief tree or ghost tree – all due to its appearance at this time of year.

It’s a deciduous tree from the Nyssaceae family which can reach 25m in height and produces heart shaped leaves and wonderful delicate white bracts which hang in long rows beneath its branches and flutter in the breeze resembling doves, hankies or ghosts!

The Davidia genus is named for Father Armand David (1826–1900; "Père David"), a 19th century French missionary and keen naturalist who lived in China. David first described the tree in 1869 and sent dried specimens to Paris; in 1871, Henri Baillon described it as a new species.

Davidia involucrate was introduced to Britain by plant hunter Augustine Henry from the Yangtse Ichang gorges, sending the first specimen to Kew Gardens. Our trees were purchased by the 6th Marquess in the late 1960’s and the lower of the trees on Laundry Brae is a champion tree - the Scottish champion for girth.