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Parrotia persica: Persian Parrotia1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


This 20 to 40-foot-high deciduous tree forms a low-branched, rounded silhouette, 20 to 35 feet wide, and often has multiple trunks, although it can be trained to a single trunk. The flowers which appear before the leaves in spring are somewhat interesting, showing no petals just a profusion of relatively inconspicuous deep crimson stamens. Fruits are not set in abundance and are of little consequence. But it is the foliage of Persian Parrotia which attracts the most attention, unfolding as reddish-purple young leaves, maturing to a lustrous, dark green through the summer, and then finally putting on a brilliant fall display of various hues of vivid yellow, burnt orange, and deep, pure scarlet. Even in winter Persian Parrotia is a striking landscape element, the much-branched canopy and multiple trunks finally able to clearly display their attractive peeling bark and spectacular form. Trunk and bark character can be displayed year-round by removing lower branches and foliage.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Parrotia persica: Persian Parrotia
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Parrotia persica: Persian Parrotia
Credit: Ed Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Parrotia persica
Pronunciation: par-ROE-tee-uh PER-sih-kuh
Common name(s): Persian Parrotia
Family: Hamamelidaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 5A through 8B (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: tree lawn 3-4 feet wide; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; specimen; street without sidewalk; deck or patio; shade; highway median; container or planter
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 20 to 40 feet
Spread: 20 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: round, vase
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: crenate, dentate, serrate
Leaf shape: obovate, oblong
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches, 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow, orange, red
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: red
Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: irregular
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: unknown


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

These ornamental characteristics and a pest-free nature make Persian Parrotia ideal for use as a specimen or street tree. Accent the tree in a landscape by setting it off by itself in a lawn or in a bed of low ground cover. Space 20 to 30 feet apart along a street or walk to create a canopy over the walk. It will not canopy over the street but will form a wall of wonderful foliage along the sides of a residential street. This tree should be grown and planted more.

Persian Parrotia should be grown in full sun or partial shade on well-drained, slightly acid soil and will adapt to alkaline soil provided other cultural requirements are met. Trees will not tolerate wet soil conditions, but should show considerable drought tolerance once established.

The cultivar `Pendula' reportedly forms a rounded, weeping silhouette, five to six feet high by 10 feet wide, but is rare in the trade.

Propagation is by seed or cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern. It is virtually pest free.


1. This document is ENH-591, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-591

Release Date:February 4, 2015

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