This variety of Hankerchief Tree is very similar to Maniltoa grandiflora, but it has a more compact growth habit while tassels of leaves are much longer, and flowers have double structure.
The tassel of juvenile leaves hanging down limp. Undoubtedly a handsome tree, it characteristically branches low but with the main branches ascending close to each other to form a tight multiple-stem with a surprisingly tidy symmetrical crown. It is the handkerchief tree par excellence, the large rounded crowns being covered with evenly spaced handkerchieves of white at frequent intervals. The limp tassels of new leaves first develop within large buds covered in papery brown scales. These foliage buds are very similar to the buds that protect the developing inflorescences. New leaves and inflorescences appear simultaneously. The inflorescences are mostly held at the ends of the branches and are made up of many white flowers with papery brown bracts. When first open, the inflorescences are very attractive in their virginal white with yellow anthers, but within a few days they tend to brown where the flowers are damaged and the anthers have shed their pollen. The trees flush new leaves and blooms every few months and are particularly attractive in the evening twilight when the contrast between the hankies and the dark crown seems strongest.