Growing handkerchief trees

People keen to grow exotic flora need patience and plenty of green space, it has been asserted.

An article in the online pages of the Times explains that horticultural enthusiasts eager to cultivate Davidia involucrata – more commonly known as the handkerchief, dove or ghost tree – will have to be in no hurry to allow the plant to develop.

It notes that such trees – which are notable for their large white bracts that surround their small and "insignificant" flowers – can reach up to 50 feet in height and usually take at least ten years to form their first flower heads.

"For the tree to thrive, plant it in a sheltered, sunny spot – or dappled shade – and fertile, reasonably moisture-retentive and well-drained soil," the article recommends.

Online resource notes that the handkerchief tree was introduced into Britain from China just over a century ago.