This White Dove Flower Looks Just Like a Bird in Flight

This rare orchid is simply stunning.

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Spring’s almost here, and we’re ready with our shovels, watering cans and, of course, seeds and plants! From this gorgeous night-blooming moonflower vine, to the beautiful chocolate cherry sunflowers, we’re ready to make sure our gardens look gorgeous come summer. But that’s not all—we just discovered a plant that combines our love of flowers and birds, and we can’t wait to start planting.

Psst: If you’re a fellow bird-watcher, don’t forget to check out our tips for attracting cardinals to your yard.

What Is a Dove Flower?

These absolutely gorgeous plants are known by the scientific name Habenaria radiata, but they’re more commonly called the dove flower or egret flower. With their gorgeous, feathery white shoots, it’s easy to understand where the name comes from! You might also find them under the names fringed orchid or sagiso.

The papery-looking flower is native to Russia, Korea, China and Japan, where it grows in grassy wetlands. It’s recently gained recognition around the world, but is considered an endangered species in the wild, due to habitat destruction.

If you’re worried that this orchid will be a handful, relax—these plants are easy to take care of. They thrive in sun or partial shade in sandy, well-drained soil. If there isn’t much rain, plan to water them to keep them evenly moist. Treated right, a dove flower grows slowly in spring and will release its winged blooms in the summer. Each spike usually produces two or three flowers, but you might see as many as eight!

A word of caution: These plants aren’t fond of winter, so if you live in zone 5 or colder (check out your zone on the USDA map), you might want to grow them in containers so you can bring them indoors during the coldest months.

Where to Find a Dove Flower

It can be difficult to find the plant itself, but rare orchid seeds can be found on Etsy.

Whether you’re a gardening beginner or a seasoned green thumb, we’ve got plenty of tips for planting! Don’t forget to check out our ideas for dealing with plants in hot and humid weather and how to get rid of the peskiest garden insects.

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.