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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Franklinia alatamaha Bartr. ex Marsh.
Franklin tree, Franklinia, Franklintree
USDA Symbol: FRAL
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A small tree or shrub, 10-20 ft. in height, with upright, spreading branches, often leafless in their lower reaches, giving the plant an airy appearance. Beautiful, large, white flowers and an open crown of upright branches. Trunks assume a slight fluted shape. Leaves are dark, shiny-green above, pubescent below, turning orange and red in the fall. Showy, solitary, 3 in. wide, 5-petaled white flowers have a center of yellow stamens and are fragrant.
Franklinia is grown for its handsome flowers, borne in September, and its showy autumnal foliage as well as for its historical interest. It was discovered in 1765 by John Bartram and his son William, botanists from Philadelphia; it apparently even then occupied only two or three acres. In 1773 and 1778, William returned to obtain seeds and plants, but it has not been seen wild since 1790. It may have been exterminated by wholesale collecting for shipment to London nurseries or destroyed by natural causes such as flooding. Named by William Bartram for Benjamin Franklin and for the Altamaha River (then spelled Alatamaha), where it was discovered.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
White-Gray Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug
GA Native Distribution:
Discovered once along the Altamaha R. in GA Native Habitat:
Moist sites USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Moist, acid, well-drained soils. Conditions Comments:
Best flowering and fall color occur in full sun. Because some of the best specimens of this sp. occur north of its native
range, there is speculation that a disease associated with cotton infests Frankliniana causing poor performance.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Sow seeds as soon as the fruit
matures. Easily propagated from cuttings taken in late summer or fall. Seed Collection:
Do not allow collected seed to dry. Seed Treatment:
Best germination occurs after 30 days cold stratification. Commercially Avail:
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Warrensville, NC
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DENative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2008-02-01
Research By: TWC Staff