Franklin tree

Franklinia alatamaha

Photo/Illustration: 
Michael Dirr
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Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha)
frank-LIN-ee-ah ah-lah-tah-MAH-hah
Genus:  Franklinia
Discovered in the wild along Georgia's Altamaha River in 1765 by botanists John and William Bartram, this beautiful landscape tree is considered extinct in the wild. The Bartrams named the plant in honor of their friend Benjamin Franklin. All Franklinias today are descended from those propagated by the Bartrams in their Philadelphia garden. It is a deciduous, understory tree with an upright habit. It can be grown as a single-trunked tree or a multi-stemmed shrub. The fragrant white flowers have bushy yellow stamens and the leaves are dark green and glossy, turning orange, red, and purple in the fall. It blooms in late summer and early autumn, when few other trees are in flower. The fruit that follows is woody and spherical. Franklin tree makes a great addition to an open area of a woodland garden.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Glossy foliage and good fall color. Beautiful, camellia-like flowers that are fragrant and bloom late in the season. Native.
Care:  Grow in organically rich, moist but very well-drained soil of acidic to neutral pH, in full sun. Resents transplanting and should not be disturbed in the landscape.
Propagation:  Sow seed as soon as ripe at 50° to 64°F. Root softwood cuttings in summer using bottom heat.
Problems:  Wilt and root rot can be serious problems, and Japanese beetles may eat the flowers.

Overview

Height
10 ft. to 15 ft.
Spread
10 ft. to 15 ft.
Growth Pace
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Fragrant Flowers,
Native,
Showy Fall Foliage,
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage
Bloom Time
Fall,
Late Summer,
Summer
Flower Color
White Flower,
Yellow Flower
Uses
Specimen Plant/Focal Point
Style
Woodland Garden
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Shrubs

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