Parrotia persica 'JLColumnar' PERSIAN SPIRE

Overall Plant
Common Name: Persian ironwood 
Type: Tree
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 20.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest


Best grown in average, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade and a wide range of soil conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Parrotia persica, commonly called Persian ironwood, is a small to medium sized, single trunk, deciduous tree eventually growing 20-40' tall (but typically 10' after 7-8 years) or a large, multi-stemmed shrub growing to 15' tall. Apetalous flowers with dense, red stamens surrounded by brownish bracts appear in late winter to early spring before the foliage. Flowers are attractive on close inspection, but are generally considered to be somewhat insignificant. Oval to oblong leaves (to 4" long) emerge reddish-purple in spring, mature to a lustrous, medium to dark green in summer and change to variable shades of yellow, orange and red in fall. Bark of mature trees exfoliates to show green, white or tan patches beneath and provides good winter interest.

Genus name honors F. W. Parrot (1792-1841), German naturalist and traveller who climbed Mount Arart in 1834.

Specific epithet means Persian.

'JLColumnar' is an upright selection of Persian ironwood that features colorful foliage and a columnar to narrowly oval-shaped growth form. Mature trees will reach around 25' tall with a 10' spread. The 2.5-3.5" long and 1.5-2" wide, ovate to obovate leaves have coarse, rounded teeth and slightly undulating margins. The foliage emerges purple in spring before maturing to deep green in summer and providing a consistent fall display in various shades of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy. Small flowers bloom in early spring and although they lack petals the clusters of bright, crimson red, pendulous stamens add interest before the leaves emerge. Commonly sold at nurseries and garden centers under the name PERSIAN SPIRE. This plant is protected by patent number PP24951.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Excellent small lawn tree or street tree. Can be incorporated into foundation plantings, particularly in shrub form.