Plant of the Week

Here at Gravetye we have three Parrotia persica trees. They are also known as Persian Iron Wood and, as this more common name suggests, are native to Northern Iran. They thrive in the Albortz Mountain region next to the Caspian Sea. They are deciduous trees which can grow to 30 feet in height and are closely related to the Witch-Hazel. While most of the wild specimens grow straight, the harsh mountain weather conditions have caused many of them to develop contorted branches and unusual, enchanting shapes. Our specimens are wild sourced from this area and have kept this interesting shape, which is indicative of its origin.

parrotia-persica-wild-garden

This wonderful tree, with its unruly sets of branches and iron bark, gives us interest throughout the year. In summer it’s covered with lush green leaves which, in autumn, turn to a dazzling mixture of scarlet, maroon, orange, yellow and pink. Also interesting, are its winter flowers. The dense clusters of scarlet stamens which scatter along the branches are a welcome sight during this cold season. You may think that its name ‘Parrotia’ is so called because its flamboyant colours reflect those of some parrots, but this is not so. It was named in honour of the German naturalist F.W. Parrot, who was the first to scale Mount Ararat in 1829!

Fay.

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