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Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)


Parrotia persica (commonly called Persian ironwood) is a deciduous tree in the family Hamamelidaceae, closely related to the witch-hazel genus Hamamelis. It is native to northern Iran (where it is called انجیلی enjili) and southern Azerbaijan (where it is called Dəmirağac) and it is endemic in the Alborz mountains. The species was named by Carl Anton von Meyer to honor his predecessor at the University of Dorpat, German naturalist Georg Friedrich Parrot., who botanized in the Alborz on a mountaineering expedition in the 1830s. As an uncommon, drought-tolerant garden tree of moderate size, it is prized by connoisseurs for its striking autumn colour and the exfoliating bark that develops on mature specimens. Another species Parrotia subaequalis (commonly called Chinese ironwood) originates from eastern China. There are five disjunct populations of Parrotia subaequalis in eastern China: two each in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces (Huang et al. 2005) and one in Anhui (Shao and Fang 2004). A full account of this sibling species can be found in an article: 'The Chinese Parrotia: A Sibling Species of the Persian Parrotia' by Jianhua Li and Peter Del Tredici. This species is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (under its former name of Shaniodendron subaequale, which is no longer an accepted name for the species).[citation needed] P. subaequalis is also considered critically endangered (Grade I Key protected Wild Plant) in the China Red Data Book, with a very narrow distribution range. The five known relict populations of P. subaequalis comprise no more than 100 reproductive individuals. Therefore, this species has high conservation priority.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum: Magnoliophyta

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Saxifragales

            • Family: Hamamelidaceae

              • Genus: Parrotia