Bark peels in tight vertical curls. September brings a muted blend of yellow and claret-red foliage, capturing the essence of autumn. During winter, tufts of snow lodge on the peels of grey and honey-colored bark, lending contrast. Often listed as hardy to Zone 5, growers report it hardy to -40°F - a full zone rating hardier than Acer griseum.
Carpinus betulus 'Pinoccheo' (Pinoccheo European Hornbeam)
Much less congested branch structure than seedlings or the varieties 'Fastigiata' & 'Frans Fontaine'. Observant nurseryman Lanny Rawdon of Arborvillage in Holt, MO reports that it's a robust grower back in the Midwest, with a strongly upright form as a young tree. One of the first specimen trees set out by the late Buddy Hubbuch at Bernheim Forest is distinctly pyramidal in winter branch structure. Clonal propagation assures its predictable landscape uniformity, and Lanny tells us it survived -35 F in the harsh winter of 1983. This is a really tough, handsome tree for any landscape in zones 5-8 and for potentially harsh landscape conditions in the Midwest.
With a RHS Award of Garden Merit Lois, named in 1998, is a sister to 'Elizabeth', with more intense yellow flowers consistently opening a couple weeks later so more flowers come after spring frosts but still prior to the leaves. The flowers don't fade with age though they are slightly smaller than Elizabeth's.
Parrotia persica 'Vanessa' (Columnar Persian Ironwood)
Upright form of a tough small tree that requires almost no care in return for its year-round appeal. Patchy bark, spring bronze-green foliage, exceptional month-after-month autumn color, and attractive winter branch structure put it into a class that almost approaches the perfection of Paperbark Maple and Stewartia. What it lacks in flower appeal is balanced by its extreme drought tolerance and overall tough character.
Parrotia persica Golden BellTower™ 'Chrishaven1' (Golden BellTower™ Columnar Ironwood)
A superior, tight form that stays columnar and flame shaped over the years. Clean, insect and disease resistant green leaves turn bright golden yellow and red-orange in autumn. Over time the bark handsomely exfoliates. Golden BellTower is a moderate grower and will reach 30 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide over time. Makes an excellent choice for smaller yards, tight spots and is a logical choice for commercial plantings or as a street tree. The best fall color will be achieved by growing it in full sun, however it will grow equally well in part shade. Drought resistant once established. Found and selected by our friend Ken Christianson over a decade ago.
The Nation Arboretum's wisdom in testing this for over twenty years is rewarded by superior tree form, 30 feet tall by on 15 feet wide. It has semi-pendulous, single, dark rose-pink flowers opening late in March into early April. One of the best features are red calyces which provide an interesting post-bloom ornamental color boost for a further three weeks after petal drop.