Франклиния алатамаха

Франклиния алатамаха

Опубликовано: 1 янв. 2013 г.

In seventeen-sixty-five two Quaker botanists from Philadelphia, William Bartram and his father John Bartram visited the British colony of Georgia and discovered a plant living on the banks of the Alatamaha River they’d never seen before. In a few years time William Bartram the son of John Bartram went back on a long trail through coastal Georgia and northern Florida and he revisited this small population of trees or large shrubs and collected seeds. Within fifty years this wild population on the Alatamaha River had been completely wiped out, in fact it is extinct in the wild. They named the plant after John Bartram’s good, good friend Benjamin Franklin. So this is «Franklinia» is the genus name, and «alatamaha» is the species name, for the river in Georgia where they found it. It is a monotypic genus, meaning there’s only one species in the genus. It is a member of the family Theaceae, that includes Camelia and Stuartias and they tend to have pretty active nectaries so these flowers are slightly and very sweetly fragrant.

Franklinia alatamaha begins blooming for us in mid July with a flush of blooms and continues blooming all the way past the first frost in October. This is an amazing bloom time for a small flowering tree it makes it one of the most valuable small flowering trees for the home landscape or the Arboretum. The tree is in full bloom now as we speak, even after a hurricane knocked a lot of the flowers off, but not only do we have the blooms happening right now but we have numerous flower buds in each cluster of blooms. These are flower buds waiting to burst open, the tree is covered with flower buds at this late date in late August . These flowers, after the flower petals drop, produce a dehiscent, five valved capsule. These capsules will stay on the tree even into the next growing season . You can see it’s very intricate, the architecture is absolutely stunning in itself, it’s a beautiful piece of engineering. And within this capsule are the seeds, probably fifteen or twenty of them in each of these capsules, and they do remain viable for more than a year.

This shot gives a good example of the multi stemmed nature of the plant. Franklinia grows to about nine meters high which is about thirty feet maybe thirty one or two feet. They love to be on well drained soil but with plenty of moisture available to the roots, think of a sandy loam in Georgia but with a river running next to it. Ours planted here at Marsh Botanical Gardens has a great setting for it, because it’s well drained because the topography that slopes away from it, but also we have a an underground spring that pops out within ten or fifteen feet of its root mass, so there is water available even in the driest summers. This drought intolerant small tree prefers an acid soil so it would be important to test your soil Ph before planting. Plant balled and burlapped or sometimes you can find them in in pots at the better nurseries. This is not a very, very rare plant but it is not common in the trade either. You wont find it at the big-box stores, so look in the better nurseries for Franklinia.



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