Looking for Fall Color Close to Home? Try Persian Ironwood

You need not journey far from home to see displays of autumn’s annual glory, say tree experts interviewed in the latest issue of Tree Link, the DNR e-newsletter dedicated to urban and community forestry in Washington state.

Parks, streetside plantings and private yards can offer a wide variety of individual trees that are soon to display fall colors. Take the Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica), for example.

“I love the variety of its foliage colors in the fall, a shifting palette that progresses across the autumn hues,” says Kathleen L. Wolf, Ph.D, a research social scientist at the University of Washington. “I also like the form. Many urban trees are selected for being tame and predictable; I enjoy the unruly branching of older varieties, sort of like a canopy with a cowlick.”

persionironwood-leaf
Spring foliage of the Persian ironwood tree. Photo: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org

The deciduous Persian ironwood, native to northern Iran and southern Aserbaijan, is potentially a large tree but usually remains small to medium sized, around 20 to 40 feet in height. This drought-tolerant tree may be rounded in shape or irregular with upright ascending branches. In spring, abundant new leaves are a shiny green with distinctive purple edging.

See more of the top picks for fall color selected by DNR Urban Forestry staff and members of the Washington Community Forestry Council in the latest issue of Tree Link.

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