Persian Ironwood Delivers Fall Color (and More)

Parrotia persica, or Persian Ironwood

Parrotia persica, or Persian Ironwood

Today, my leaf raking chores are interrupted by opportunities to admire the great fall color on our deciduous trees and shrubs. I keep returning to Parrotia persica, or Persian Ironwood.

Uncommon in gardens, perhaps because it is not offered at the big box stores, I found ours at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens fall sale a few years ago. Ironwood sports interesting hide-like bark as well as superior foliage color: burgundy, red, orange and yellow leaves. From the same plant family as witch hazel, Parrotia persica blooms in very early spring with blooms resembling tiny, red spiders.

Parrotia persica for fall color

Leaves at the tips of branches are beginning to show their fall colors.

Leather-like bark of Parrotia persica

Leather-like bark of Parrotia persica


Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

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