October is all about autumn colour and Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) must be one of the best. It can provide fiery tints of gold and crimson, enhanced by the shininess of the leaves; but in another year it might be almost entirely yellow - which is still nice. Colouring might be bold one year, or more pastel shaded in another. Some leaves might be tinged purple all year - as was mine here at Hearne HQ this year.
It comes from the eastern Caucasus and Iran and is named after a German surgeon, explorer and naturalist, Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot. Parrot was the first person credited with climbing Mt Ararat in 1829 - though Noah is said to have floated to the top in more leisurely fashion aboard an ark some years previously.
Closely related to Witch Hazels and Sweetgums, they are small wide spreading trees, usually with multiple stems and reaching heights of 20-30ft. In the wild they can be thicket forming shrubs or tall and straight reaching 80ft. It is likely that cultivated forms here are descended from an introduction of a limited gene pool of smaller shrubbier types - but I am also told that propagating from side branch cuttings will also give a tendency towards smaller spreading trees. Introduced to Kew from St Petersburg in 1841, the larger recorded trees in this country are at Syon House (45ft) and Abbotsbury in Dorset (50 ft in 1972).