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Franklinia alatamaha

Object Details

Description
While easily found on Smithsonian grounds, the Franklin tree is a bit of a mystery in the plant world. First discovered in 1765 by a father and son team along a section of the Altamaha River in Georgia, by the early 1800s, all traces of the tree in the wild had disappeared. Theories explaining its disappearance abound: fire, flood, overcollection by eager plant hunters, or even a fungal disease spread by cotton plantations have all been hypothesized. Several plant expeditions have returned to the original area John and William Bartram discovered the Franklin tree, but to no avail. Now the only Franklin trees in existence are descendants of the seeds originally collected by the Bartrams.
William Bartram named the Franklin tree in honor of Benjamin Franklin, a good friend of his father.
Hardiness
-20 - 20 F
Bloom Time
July to August
Provenance
From a cultivated plant not of known wild origin
Range
SE Georgia, USA
Habitat
Acidic sand-hill bogs on low wet soils, 0-33ft (0-10 meters)
Topic
Display Gardens
Living Collections
See more items in
Smithsonian Gardens Display Collection
On Display
Ripley Gardens
Data Source
Smithsonian Gardens
Accession Number
2021-0653A
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Common Name
Franklin tree
Group
[vascular plants]
Class
Equisetopsida
Subclass
Magnoliidae
Superorder
Asteranae
Order
Ericales
Family
Theaceae
Genus
Franklinia
Species
alatamaha
Life Form
Deciduous tree
Average Height
10-20' (3-6 meters)
Bloom Characteristics
Camellia-like, cup-shaped, 5 petaled flowers. Fragrant. 3" (7.6 cm) diameter.
Fall Color
Orange, red, purple
Foliage Characteristics
Narrow, oblong-obovate, glossy dark green leaves. 5" (12.7 cm) long.
Fruit Characteristics
Round, hard, ripen to brown.
Structure
Round
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ax74e449ea9-7306-4d9c-9029-eb9b0716add4
Record ID
ofeo-sg_2021-0653A
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