|Specimen planted in Belgium|
Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood) is a deciduous tree in the family Hamamelidaceae, the sole species in the genus Parrotia but closely related to the witch-hazel genus Hamamelis. It is native to northern Iran, where it is endemic in the Alborz mountains.
It grows to 30 m (98 ft) tall and 8–15 m (26–49 ft) broad, with a trunk up to 150 cm (59 in) in diameter. The bark is smooth, pinkish-brown flaking/peeling to leave cinnamon, pink, green, and pale yellow patches in a similar manner to plane trees. The leaves are alternate, ovoid, often slightly lop-sided, 6–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 4–10 cm (2–4 in) across, with wavy margins; they are glossy green, turning a rich purple to brilliant red in autumn.
The flowers are somewhat similar to witch-hazel flowers but dark red; they are likewise produced in late winter on bare stems, but differ in having only four rounded sepals with no petals; the stamens are however fairly conspicuous, forming a dense red cluster 3–4 mm across. The fruit is a two-parted capsule containing two seeds, one in each half.
Several cultivars have been selected for garden planting:
- 'Horizontalis': semi-weeping, wide-spreading horizontal branching pattern.
- 'Pendula' (Kew Form): Compact, weeping, quite graceful
- 'Select': Young leaves have purple margins, otherwise same as species
- 'Vanessa': Upright, columnar habit
February Flowers, Muséum de Toulouse.
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