This Chinese relative to Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) is aptly called Chinese Ironwood and is also related to those Distylium shrubs over there in the shrub department. Hamamelidacea is one of our favorite families due to the winter-flowers and three seasons of high leaf quality.
Regarding Parrotia subaequalis, let's start talking about this type of ironwood by fawning over the dark green, clean (a.k.a disease-free) leaves that look so much like sister persica's, but are a bit longer/narrower and with an intriguing dark burgundy border running along the margin. This margin portends the marvelous fall color fiesta: burgundy turning dare-we-say neon red over the duration and throwing the odd entirely yellow leaf here and there. So awesome! Plus, fall color has been consistent in Zone 8a of the Atlanta, Georgia area.
Flowers are red and open in the winter before the leaves, just like P. persica. They are so closely related and modest alike, being not very showy, but they do cast a red hue for those who walk their gardens to look for such things.
The bark we see on our friend's 12 footer starting to exfoliate in patches of small pealing puzzle work. We read that the subaequalis bark rivals the famous bark persica and will report back to you when we have a larger specimen to hand.
This darling has been heat tolerant these recent "hottest summers on record" and not missed a beat. It's held the leaves so handsomely without getting tired of the heat and every year gone on to dazzle us with a long, drawn-out fall color fiesta. Seriously, fall color lasts a month! (see how we couldn't help cycle back 'round to fall color?)