Overlooking the Systematic Beds is a fine Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica. It is a native of the southern Caucasus and northern Iran and is named for its extremely hard wood. The flattened, spreading canopy has become an intricate latticework, due to the beautiful branches, a patchwork pattern of buff, pink and pearly grey, having self-grafted and fused.
In winter, tiny male flowers, consisting of clusters of crimson stamens, appear directly from the bare, serpentine branches; from a distance the tree seems to glow ember red. In autumn, the oval, roughly-toothed leaves turn copper, gold and red, making this a truly year-round tree.