A stately, small to medium sized tree with fantastic autumn color is the Persian ironwood or Parrotia persica. It is the only tree in its genus and is a member of the Witch-hazel family - Hamamelis and native to northern Iran.

This charming tree has multi-season interest that gets better with every year. In late winter it has bright red small flowers, then the scalloped, hazel-like leaves emerge and the tree takes on its handsome spreading form and as the season cools the leaves develop some of the richest and most complex autumn color of any tree, in shades of red, burgundy, orange, bronze, amber, and yellow. Then as the leaves fall, the mottled, flaking bark takes center stage for the remainder of the winter. There are, in fact, few trees that are as tastefully appealing in so many ways as the Persian ironwood. It has a picturesque form and yet only reaches 25 feet at maturity which makes it ideal for the modern garden.

It is heat and drought resistant and pest and disease free. It grows at a moderate rate and requires little if any maintenance.

It grows throughout the UK and in the US from northern Florida to Canada. It does quite well in Australia and in New Zealand. As always, a tree this rare is not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely found in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.



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