The Franklinia tree or Franklin tree, (Franklinia alatamaha) was named after Benjamin Franklin. It was first described by the English botanists John and William Bertram growing along the Altamaha river in Georgia in 1765. The tree became soon extinct in the wild but seeds of the tree were cultivated in the Philadelphia.
The Franklinia either has a single trunk or grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. Leaves are 7” long, narrow at the base with shiny dark green above and paler green/hairy below. Twigs are green to brown and silty with a terminal silky, hairy bud that elongates to a narrow point. The tree has colorful furrowed bark, smooth slightly toothed oblong leaves turning red in the fall. In the late summer, the tree shows wonderful cup-shaped white flowers with bright yellow stamens in the center. Fruits are ¾” long, with a 5-parted woody capsule. The tree is often confused with the related but more common Stewardia that has a smaller, more delicate flower than the Franklinia but otherwise pretty much looks the sa