Parrotia persica (commonly called Persian ironwood) is a wide spreading (8 to 15 m), often multi stemmed deciduous tree or large shrub that grows to 8m tall. The bark is smooth, pinkish brown flaking/peeling to leave cinnamon, pink, green, and pale yellow patches in a similar manner to London plane. Leaves are glossy green, turning a rich purple to brilliant red in autumn with deep red/crimson flowers. Consequently, P. persica is cultivated as an ornamental tree for its autumn colour and patterned bark.
Culture for Persian Ironwood
A highly versatile tree that is tolerant of most soils (clay; loam; sand; slightly alkaline; acidic, pH 5 7.5), as long as the soil is well drained. Likewise will do well in part shade/part sun or full sun. Highly drought tolerant but susceptible to waterlogging. Does not transplant well.
Concerns about Persian Ironwood
P. persica is virtually pest and disease free. Phytophthora and/or honey fungus have been recorded when soil conditions are excessively waterlogged but these are rare. Powdery mildew has, on occasion, been observed but is not considered a serious threat. Does not grow well in waterlogged soils.
Management Practices for Persian Ironwood
Sample soils for nutrient and pH levels. Fertilise or amend soil based on soil analysis. Check soil drainage potential and compaction levels. Root collar excavate where deep planting or honey fungus is suspected. Treat preventatively with phosphites if Phytophthora is of concern. Use fungicide sprays if powdery mildew infection is heavy.