More than 100,000 dove trees, a rare species whose scientific name is Davidia involucrata Baill, have been discovered in Baoxing County in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The tree, a monotypic genus, which means there is only one species of Davidia, is seldom seen in such a large population in one place.
The tree, which averages 15 to 30 meters in height, originated in southwest and central China and is considered as rare as the panda.
When the tree flowers, it looks as if white doves were perching on its branches because the globes of its small flowers are held beneath two pendulous white "leaves," known as "bracts."
The 100,000 trees were found earlier this year in a valley called Ganyanggou in Longdong, a small town in Baoxing.
Baoxing County, in the western part of Sichuan, is well known for its rare, ancient plants and animals since this area escaped the onslaught of glaciers in the Quaternary Ice Age, according to local biologists.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2003)