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Parrotia persica Vanessa or Persian Ironwood Vanessa The Parrotia Persica Vanessa, also called the Persian Ironwood Vanessa, is a mid-sized ornamental tree that presents four-seasons of visual interest. The tree is a real showstopper. In the late winter and early spring, it bursts forth with small reddish flowers that resemble spiders. The blooms cluster along the tree’s bare stems. As spring progresses, the tree produces a bevy of oval-shaped foliage that emerges in shades of burgundy and bronze. Once summer arrives, the foliage matures to a dark green. Each leaf measures about 12 centimeters long. During the autumn, the leaves boast spectacular hues of red, purple and orange. After the leaves fall away, the bark of the tree has a unique grey flakey appearance that creates visual interest. As the tree ages, the bark that peels away and reveals shades of brown, green, white and grey.
The Persian Ironwood Vanessa grows to a height of up to 12 metres with a width of 4 to 6 metres. This Vanessa variety has an exotic appearance and grows in a more upright columnar shape than the regular Parrotica Persica. Its branches arch gracefully down to the tips. It is relatively slow growing compared to other trees.
A native of Iran, the diminutive Parrotia Persica Vanessa was named after the German naturalist Friedrich Parrot. He first introduced the tree to the United Kingdom in around 1860. The small tree is a member of the witch hazel family (Hamamelidaceae).
Choose a planting a location that affords full sun so that Persian Ironwood Vanessa develops the utmost foliage colourations as it grows. The tree will tolerate dappled shade but its autumn foliage brilliance will suffer. Choose a planting location with moist, well-draining soil. The tree is not overly sensitive to soil type but prefers a planting location that is rich in organic content. During the first year of growth, keep the soil evenly moist so the tree establishes a diverse root system. Once established, the tree requires very little care or pruning to thrive.
Parrotia Persica Vanessa makes an excellent specimen tree in any landscape. It is sure to draw a great deal of admiration. The petite deciduous tree can also be used in borders or as a foundation planting. The Vanessa variety was awarded the highly coveted Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society because of its outstanding growth qualities.