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(Russian common name, ironwood), a deciduous tree of the family Hamamelidaceae. It attains a height of 14–25 m. Its trunk sometimes puts forth branches as far as the ground, and the branches often take root and fuse with each other as well as with the branches of neighboring trees, such as hornbeam, zelkova, and maple. The bark is gray, in places reddish brown, and peeling. The leaves are leathery and obovate or elliptical. The blossoms are without petals, and two to five blossoms are gathered in heads at the ends of shortened shoots. The calyx has five to seven lobes, and there are five to seven stamens and a half-inferior ovary. The fruit is a woody bivalvular pod, and blossoms appear prior to leafing. The tree may live as long as 200 years.
The species may be found in relict, broad-leaved forests in Azerbaijan (Talysh) as well as in northern Iran (the southern shore of the Caspian Sea), where it grows in lowlands and mountains (up to 700 m above sea level and sometimes higher), on the banks of rivers and streams, and in ravines with moist or, more rarely, dry, rocky soil. The wood is compact and heavy (with a density of 0.9–1.05 g per cu cm), splits easily, lacks resilience, and is very hard and durable (hence the name); it is rose-colored with a brown tint. The wood is used for making certain machine parts, works of art, and decorative veneer.
Ironwood is also the common name of other plants with hard wood, such as the Musaferrea in India, Ixoraferrea in the Antilles, Caesalpinia ferrea in Brazil, Stadmannia sideroxylon on Mauritius, Argania sideroxylon in Morocco, and several species of the genus Sideroxylon.
REFERENCESSafarov, I. “Ekologo-biologicheskaia kharakteristika zheleznogo dere va.”Tr. in-ta botaniki AN Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR, 1952, vol. 16.
Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.
T. G. LEONOVA