2329b persianparrotia
Persian Parrotia tree

The Persian Parrotia is a slow growing, usually a low branched multi-stemmed small specimen tree. However, it can also be found in the single stem form. The Persian Parrotia has beautiful bark that starts as a smooth gray-brown color, but transforms itself as the tree ages. Attractive exfoliating bark patches reveal pale grays, silver, tans and cinnamon colors throughout the mature tree. The summer foliage is fragrant and a dark, lustrous green color, but in the fall the leaves turn a brilliant shade of yellow-gold to pumpkin orange and purple. The Persian Parrotia flowers appear before the leaves in March or April. Although the flower stamens are showy red to dark pink, they lack petals. This characteristic, plus the smallish size, reduces the flower visibility unless viewed up close. The fruit is composed of a two part ½ inch brown capsule containing two seeds.

Parrotia persica is the sole species in the genus Parrotia and is native to Northern Iran. It slowly grows up to forty feet tall and 25 feet wide. The Persian Parrotia is hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8. This tree does well in most soils, even tolerating clay and some alkalinity. It should however, be planted in a well-drained site. For best performance, the Persian Parrotia tree should receive full sun to partial shade. In addition, this tree appreciates some protection from drying winds. The Persian Parrotia is quite drought tolerant and tolerant of other environmental stresses, such as air pollution, when the tree has become established. Persian Parrotia is not seriously affected by insects or diseases. Occasionally, the tree may suffer from feasting Japanese Beetles, but this is typically only during years that endure a high population of beetles.

The Persian Parrotia is a versatile tree and can be used in many landscape situations. For example, it has great application for use as a specimen, focal point, accent and foundation planting for larger structures. The Persian Parrotia is also useful near patios. Overall, the Persian Parrotia possesses a majority of attributes displayed by top performing urban tolerant trees. Thus, the Persian Parrotia has deservedly earned a spot on our “urban diversified tree species planting list”. It can be found at a number of nurseries, but is not yet considered commonly available. However, the Persian Parrotia is certainly worth the search effort.

Harold Hoover
Kramer Tree Specialists
Board Certified Master Arborist  IL-1478B

Leave a comment describing your experience with the Persian Parrotia tree!


3 Responses

  1. We are planting this tree at Childerly Park in Wheeling, IL tomorrow. Hoping it will perform well. Will try to post a follow up next year to report how it is fairing.

    Wheeling Park District
    District Horticulturist.

    1. Great! Thank you for the information. We look forward to your follow up post.

      Kramer Tree Specialists

  2. Update – our Persian Parrotia came out of the 2013/2014 winter 98% intact. It’s planted in a rather exposed location. I’m impressed.

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