Plant Guide > Trees > Gordonias > Franklinia Tree

Franklinia Tree

Franklinia TreeThe Franklinia (G. Altamaha, Sarg.) is a tree rarely seen over 15 to 20 feet high now. Its flowers, larger than those of the loblolly bay, open in September.

The leaves resemble those of the other species in form, but are deciduous, and notable for their splendid scarlet in autumn. The fruit is globular and the seeds not winged.

In 1790 William Bartram found this tree growing in groves along the Altamaha River. Specimens were sent to John Bartram's garden in Philadelphia, and from there were introduced into cultivation. Strangely, no succeeding explorer has ever found the trees growing wild, though careful search has been made to rediscover them.

The only specimens known are in gardens, lineal descendants and sole representatives of those Bartram described.