Last week, I spotted a tree with white, tulip-like flowers in the Botanic Garden in Oxford. This weekend I discovered they have a true tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) as well. The name doesn’t give it away, but it belongs to the magnolia family.
The pale green buds and the flowers, light green with a bit of orange, are not always easy to spot between the leaves.
White tulip-like flowers sheltered by large green leaves. What type of tree is this?, I wondered. I had once seen a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and this one evidently a different type of tree.
After a while, I spotted the sign: Magnolia sieboldii subsp. sinensis. Chinese magnolia in common English.
One interesting detail: the tulip tree belongs to the magnolia family as well.
Last week, in the Oxford Botanical Garden I came across a tree that seemed to be surrounded by used white handkerchiefs or tissues. Looking up, I found that the little white sheets had actually fallen from the tree.
A sign by the tree identified it as a Davidia involucrata. It originates from China and is commonly known as handkerchief tree, dove tree and ghost tree.
It is a lovely sight, to see the bracts fluttering in the wind like white doves or pinched handkerchiefs.
The magnolia has been my favourite flowering tree since childhood. Last weekend I visited the Botanic Garden in Oxford for the first time and was lucky enough to catch the magnolia while the sun was shining.
The Prunus trees in front of our house and along the river Thames are in full bloom this week.