Mother of Gardens

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Davidia involucrata
When it blooms in the spring and a breeze rustles the long white bracts (modified leaves) at the base of its flowers, it's clear why Davidia involucrata has the common names "dove tree" and "handkerchief tree." It is still uncommon and prized in Western gardens, but in the 19th century it was legendary. Around 1870, French missionary Armand David brought it to the attention of Western nurserymen. But it wasn't until the turn of the century that plant hunters, including Ernest Wilson, tracked down these trees and shipped seed back from China.

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