The Chinese Ironwood, Parrotia subaequalis is the latest addition to the Plantmad collection of "nondescript" Hamamelidaceae. Sometimes though (at least for me) the story behind a plant or its botanic curiosity is enough of a reason to include it in the garden!
The plant was first discovered collected in North Eastern China in 1935 & given the name Hamamelis subaequalis but then lost & forgotten! It was not collected or studied in the wild again until 1988. In 1992 the rediscovered plants flowered and it was obvious that they were not Hamamelis, they were given the new genus name of Shaniodendron but further DNA testing followed & in 1998 it was decided that the plant was actually a sister species of the Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica & so it was renamed Parrotia subaequalis a second species growing some 3500 miles away from it's only other relative!
For more information on this plant check out this Arnold Arboretum article.