This weblog is part of a project of departure. It is connected with a performance workshop: The Dove, the Ghost, the Handkerchief Tree*. It includes workshop assignments and creative instigations for projects leading to live performance presentations. It is mainly for communicating with people who are part of the project.
If you are not part of the project but you would like to comment on the content you see in this blog you are most welcome.
*The Dove tree (Davidia involucrata) is a medium-sized deciduous tree, usually placed in the tupelo family (Nyssaceae), but is sometimes included (with the tupelos) in the dogwood family (Cornaceae), and by yet others given family status of its own, as Davidiaceae. It is also known as the Handkerchief tree. The tree is native to central China, from Hubei to southern Gansu, south to Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan. Another name for this tree is the ghost tree.
The Dove tree is the only member of its genus, but there are two varieties differing slightly in their leaves, Davidia involucrata var. involucrata, which has the leaves thinly pubescent (short-haired) on the underside, and Davidia involucrata var. vilmoriniana, with glabrous (hairless) leaves. Some botanists treat them as distinct species, with good reason as the two taxa have differing chromosome numbers so are unable to produce fertile hybrid offspring.
The Dove tree is best known for its flowers. These form a tight cluster about 1-2 cm across, reddish in colour, each flower head with a pair of large (12-25 cm), pure white bracts at the base performing the function of petals. These hang in long rows beneath the level branches. The flowers are at their best in late May. On a breezy day, the bracts flutter in the wind like white doves, hence the English name for this tree. One of these trees stands in the garden of the Dartington estate.
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