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Franklinia alatamaha

Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 21, 04 at 14:32

Maybe this query should go in the Propagation or Native Plants Forum but hope it fits in Botany too. I've always been intrigued with the story of the "lost Franklinia" and the fact that all trees now in cultivation are from the one plant grown in the Bartram gardens. I know that there are Orchids and probably other plants now extinct in the wild which are propagated from existing plants in cultivation, but is the Franklinia the only plant which has been propagated from just one individual plant? josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Franklinia alatamaha


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Thanks Josh for having posted this .. I had never heard of it. It seems from websites that all Franklinias in cultivation come from this same individual. I'm really confused as to why it has become extinct.. it's in the Rose family, therefore should be pollinated by bees (most probably) so we can't blame the extinction on the pollinators extinction..
and since it's growing pretty well in cultivation ,why didn't it do well in nature? And as a Rose, I bet it gives out lots of runners too.. so what happened here for it to go extinct??
Curious to hear from others ;)


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 21, 04 at 22:09

Nazanine. It's actually a small tree, reputed to be a little difficult to grow. The oldest found in cultivation a few years ago were 2 at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum planted in 1905...so obviously once established it's long-lived. Those 2 were propagated from an old tree found in the Bartrams' garden.

The Bartram Museum found over 2000 being grown worldwide, most in the US, so possibly it's safe from extinction.

I like reading the early botanists' journals, although so many didn't keep anything but lists of their discoveries, or just grabbed a bit of everything and sent it back to their sponsors to be sorted out. We can be grateful for the Bartrams who planted and grew in their own garden the Franklinia. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Franklinia


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Franklinia belongs in the Theaceae or Tea family and as such is allied with Camellia and Stewartia.
In his search for the "Lost Franklin Tree" William Bartram found the site in Georgia and collected seed between 1773 and 1776. It is believed that he returned to Philadelphia before his father (John) died. Five plants were grown from the seed that William collected. We believe that all plants in existence today descend from those seedlings that William started in Philadelphia. This is according to the Curator of Historic Collections of Bartram Garden.
I have been propagating and growing Franklinia for many years. I tell people not to plant it where cotton or rhododendron once grew. For me in Maryland, they grow easily in any sunny, well-drained location.
The history surrounding the tree makes it the most celebrated shrub/tree of the New World. They are in full bloom now when everything else is drab. English gardeners cannot grow them. I say plant Franklinia and forget everything else.
Sam


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 23, 04 at 2:16

Sam, I'm very glad to "meet" someone helping to preserve this tree...it is beautiful and I'm glad it's doing well in MD. Did you list your trees in the Bartram Gardens survey? They are still adding to the census. I noticed that MD grows far more than GA...perhaps many people like me had heard it was difficult. I think I'm going to have to have at least one. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Bartram Gardens Census


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

My Franklinea died to the roots this winter. Since they were newly planted last year, and since this was a really an usually bad winter, I'm hoping that they'll prove to be hardy in the long run. It's awfully hard to incorporate something that's 10' tall one year and 2' tall the next into a garden design.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 25, 04 at 21:41

Nan, I'm assuming your trees must have been a good size when you planted them...and they grew to 10 feet in one year? Are they fast growers like some young trees and then slow down? I was thinking of starting with a small one, keeping it potted for a few years. More affordable plus I like litle potted trees!

I'm glad yours came back though...even a 2 foot Franklinia should have nice red foliage this fall. josh


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by jnap z5 NE-OHIO (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 26, 04 at 11:26

Have you heard about the new cross made with the Franklinia. They are crossing Franklinia alatamaha and Schima argentea, both members of the tea family to make a new hybrid they're calling Mountain schimlinia (x Schimlinia floribunda). They say the new plant is showing characteristics of both parants. They are "floriferous and vigorous", according to the UNC professors working on the hybrid, can't wait, in a few years if all goes well we should see Mountain schimlinia on the market.

Hortscience, volume 38(6), october 2003


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Josh -

No, my franklinea were under 5' tall last year, but I'm assuming they might be 10' or more next time we have an incredibly bad winter that kills the tops. I was able to accept "starting over" since they were still small, but it will be harder if it happens when they've attained some height.

Sidebar: that happened with a tall vitex in another part of my garden, and it was painful. It's grown back incredibly fast, though, putting on about 6' of growth this summer. It was about 10' tall last year, and had taken about 4 years to reach that height.

I suppose I'd better get out there this fall and select a single trunk for each of the franklineas, right? The new growth is more shrubby, and if I want small trees they'll need to be pruned. Yes?


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 26, 04 at 23:57

jnap, Thanks. I hadn't heard about the work on a hybrid, in fact, I'd never heard of Schima. On Google I found a few photos in HongKong, Nepal, Thailand, Borneo. I'm hoping the hybrid won't be -less- hardy than the Franklinia. I looked up Schima in Mark Griffith's Index of Garden Plants (most up-to-date info I have bookwise) and note that they lump all in Schima wallichi. Taxonomists evidently now feel there is only one though they do note that it is "variable". lol

Nan, I sure don't know much about pruning although I have several books... the most comprehensive seems to be the AHS Pruning & Training edited by Christopher Brickell. I'm not even sure if it would be best done fall or spring. Good luck with your trees this winter! josh



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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

What happens if you plant it where cotton or rhododendrons once grew?


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 3, 04 at 8:32

Found a fact sheet from NCSU which includes the caution about former cotton-growing but doesn't state why. I notice it does say may be "difficult to transplant" so I'll definitely be looking for a small one.

I was hoping Fairweather Gardens listed it...I like their plants. Does anyone have a nursery recommendation...preferably east coast. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: NCSU Fact Sheet- Franklinia


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I need to transplant one of my franklinias, and wonder if it is best done this fall or if I should wait until spring. I picked up a new one last weekend, so now I have 3, and want to group them where they can all be seen together - sort of a little grove.

We have a long, slow fall here on cape cod, and of course I'd mulch and water well after transplanting.

Any suggestions?


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Monrovia Nursery on the west coast is the world's largest producer of Franklin Tree. To buy from MN one must buy a large quantity.
Every state has a native plant society. Their Fall plant sales are coming up. Also Botanic Gardens, Nature Centers and other non-profits sell them. Plant shop at Monticello has them, community of ParkFairfax in Alexandria will be selling them on Oct 2, write me directly if you want more details.
Sam


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 4, 04 at 5:03

Nan, I like your idea of a grove! Fall planting is recommended for us here and I've had good luck with it. Maybe your nursery could advise for your area?

Sam, thanks and I'll check with our local Botanic Garden...fairly new but I'll enjoy seeing how helpful they're likely to be. I have one local nursery I can depend on to locate and special-order things for me...will check there too. I wonder if the Bartram Museum will let me register my little tree if growing in a container...lol. josh


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Do a froogle search- Google's shopping search engine- as well as a regular google search for franklinia. There is a Georgia plant society that has it listed as well as which members offer it to the public. I just don't remember it off the top of my head.

What I do remember about the cotton/rhododendron/azalea warning is that there is a soil borne pathogen common to these plants that are fatal to Franklinia. It probably explains why there are more Franklinias up here than down there.

I finally got my first Franklinia in August at Rarefind Nurseries in Jackson, NJ. That was after a total bust wintersowing seeds that were donated. What I read about growing from seed was that if self-fertilized the germination rate was usually near zero.
Sheila


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 16, 04 at 0:40

Thanks, Skateyama. From what I read, more pounds of pesticide, fungicide, etc. are used growing cotton than on any other crop. I'd not want to plant anything in such soil.

As to soil in which Azaleas/Rhodies have been grown, I'd bet there aren't many Southern gardens which haven't had at least one. I guess I always just assumed the soil would be benign since so many other plants coexist so well with them....proves there's always an exception. josh


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Not so suprising that Franklinia is extinct in the wild.
I live near the altamaha river and almost all the land in this area has been used for farming.

Most natural stands of forest were clear cut for tobacco, peanut, cotton farming... areas too swampy were clearcut for and replanted in slashpine.
Now there is hardly any biodiversity in this area, I could walk 10miles and only see 50 different speceis of plants.

dp


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 6, 04 at 7:10

The seeds were last collected in about 1776...surely there wasn't that much cultivation going on then. I'm not sure when exactly it was discovered that the wild stand no longer existed, nor how often or vigorously searches were made over the ensuing years. I keep thinking "maybe someday...". josh


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Josh,

I believe all Hong Kong Orchid Trees (the flower being the emblem of Hong Kong) were propagated from one tree. There are many planted in South Florida and California. It differs from the Franklinia in that it is sterile and thought to be a hybrid. However, there is one tree that produces seed as claimed by the link http://web.hku.hk/~lramsden/seedhunt.html. I enjoyed reading everyones comments here on the Franklinia. By the way, I live in central Florida zone 9b. Would the Franklinia grow here? I have several Camelias that do well.

Nelson


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  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 9, 04 at 17:50

Josh had asked if there were other known landscape plants that are cultivated from jsut one know specimen, and I can think of several. Dennis Breedlove of the California Academy of Sciences has made several collecting trips to Chiapas, Mexico over the years, and had once brought back seed of Deppea splendens. The original habitat for this plant has now been wiped out by cultivation of maize, beans and cattle. The plant was spread to several California botanic gardens, and has since been introduced into the trade. Even though the original seed was from one individual plant, there was enough variability to result in several cultivars that are distinctive between each other. the cultivar introduced is known as 'Cristobal', and is quite a lovely late summer into winter blooming plant for mild coastal California settings.

Another plant comes from New Zealand, specifically the Three Kings Island, and is Tecomanthe speciosa. This plant has also been locally introduced into horticulture here in northern California, where it is still rather rare, but easy enough to grow in cool coastal conditions with little frost. There is a public planting of this in the Strybing Botanic Garden.

Other commonly grown plants that are extinct in the wild, and are cultivated from plants found growing in Temple Gardens would include the Gingko biloba, and the Dawn Redwood, although I am not sure if this species is completely extinct in the wild, or merely extremely rare. Other more local examples might include the California native Lyonothamnus floridbundus ssp asplenifolius.
This native to one of our offshore islands is not restricted to just one specimen, but is extremely rare in habitat due to past overgrazing by introduced goats. The interesting foliage of the subspecies has made it a desireable and not so rare tree in California gardens both north and south, and easily grown where goats are not in abundance!


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 10, 04 at 15:26

Nelson, I enjoyed reading about the Bauhinia blakeana...lovely blooms...I think it was well-named as the Orchid Tree. As to whether the Franklinia will do well in your area, I note the Bartram Museum census found 19 being grown in Florida, and the NCSU Fact Sheet (see link on earlier post) lists as hardy in Zones 5-9. I'd check with your local extension service to be sure.

Bahia, Thank you for reminding me of the Dawn Redwood and Gingko biloba...I had of course read of these beautiful trees' interesting history. I think the Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius must be equally beautiful from the photo of the foliage I found. In fact, I wondered how it might do as a houseplant..lol.

Enjoyed learning about the Deppea splendens (lovely blooms). Hope it and the Tecomanthe speciosa continue to prosper in CA gardens...I'm envious. But I'm even more envious of the botanists who are climbing the mountains and scouring the deserts to find and bring into cultivation rare and beautiful plants ...what a thrill it must be. And even more gratifying to have saved a plant from extinction. josh


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Encephalartos woodii is a cycad that is extinct in the wild. All of the few hundred cultivated plants in the world were propagated from one original plant that was transplanted to (and is still growing in) the Durban Botanic Garden in South Africa. All of the plants are pollen-bearing so there is no chance of pure seeds.

The last Corypha taliera palm was cut down about a dozen years ago in India. A few plants survive in botanical gardens, and maybe a few in private collections.

I saw several of the "last of" in the Mascarene Islands of the Indian Ocean. At least three Mascarene palms are on the brink of extinction. One, Hyophorbe amaricaulis, survives as a single specimen in a botanical garden. At least, it was there the last I heard. It does not produce viable seeds.

I am sure there are more and there will be more added to the list.


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 27, 04 at 20:13

Serenoa, thanks for highlighting more of the plants which need preservation. I did know of the problems with some Cycads as this was one of the plants I fell in love with when I first started learning about plants in the 60's, and have been heartened to read of the efforts to protect and propagate the most threatened.

I envy your being on the "front lines" in learning more about the threatened palms. I've always liked reading of and imagining how the first discoverers of various plants (particularly tropicals) must have felt. How poignant you must have found it to see perhaps the "last of". josh


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Josh, Callaway Gardens offers Franklinia... it's on their web site. I've ordered native azaleas from them in the past and they were in excellent (dormant) shape when I got them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Callaway Gardens on-line plant store


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I appreciate the sentiment, Josh. I'm not traveling as much lately and am not anywhere near the frontlines. As for poignant - pained might be a better word. Seeing the environmental damage in some countries actually made me feel ill. Actually, another cycad comes to mind. The last I heard, Cycas seemanii of China is limited to a few clones of a seed-bearing plant in cultivation. Since no pollen-bearing plants exist, it is at an evolutionary dead end. I have heard these plants called "the living dead."


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 29, 04 at 18:53

Jjeane, Thanks for the Callaway info. I noted they too mention its difficulty in transplanting, plus suffers from our summer heat (me, too). With my limited garden budget I'm having second thoughts, plus since it's noted as slow-growing I'm not sure I'd get to see it bloom. Still tempted though.

Serenoa, I think anyone trying to enthuse and educate others about the joy of gardening is on the "front lines", as I'm sure you include info at any opportunity about our endangered plants/planet just as you did here. I've learned so much on this one post...I think of Gardenweb as my "study group"! josh



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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Franklinia in Europe seems rarely to be thre true one - it freely hybridises with a Gordonia. The hybrids are completely fertile. Franklinia seem best to be included into Gordonia. Perhaps it may need to include Schima also to make Gordonia monophyletic.

Plants beeing cultivated from a single source or plant are not rare. Even plants that are not rare where taken to cultivation only once.
Some cultivated plants are clones cultivated for some thousend years: Saffron, Crocus sativus, is not a true species but a triploid sterile clone of C. cartwrightianus.


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 19, 04 at 8:04

Gregor, Thanks to your additional information, I went looking again and found that indeed the Franklinia had been successfully hybridized with Gordonia lasianthus (1977) and also with Camellia japonica and C. sasanqua (1982). And now with Schima argentea there will be still another hybrid. Perhaps the hybrids will be as beautiful, easier to grow, perhaps even hardier, but I'm glad to know a few Franklinias will still be grown. ~smile~

I'm glad you mentioned the saffron crocus as I had just recently learned that it was sterile and enjoyed imagining all those little bulbs being cherished and shared throughout the world. Now I understand why it cannot be propagated from seed.

And of course you are correct in saying that many of our plants were only "collected" once, and then propagated and distributed worldwide. Luckily there are usually plants left in situ from which new collections could be made if necessary. That unfortunately is not the case with Franklinia alatamaha and sadly so many others.

Thanks to you and all the above posters on this thread... I've learned so much! josh



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To throw some fuel in the discussion. I bought Franklinia altamaha from a mail order discount nursery in Tennesee (2 for about $17 if I remember correctly). Planted one in my 45-year old azalea bed here in NC Florida and it has done well, in spite of our intense summer heat (However, it is shaded in part by an oak canopy). The other died after ~1 month. Mine has a few seed pods this winter, so I am very curious about the above comment that self-fertilized seeds are seldom successfully germinated. Anyone have any experience or advice about the seeds?


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 30, 05 at 12:19

Keyapaha, Congratulations on growing at least one...how many years did you have to wait to see the first blooms? As to growing from seed, I think I'd email the Bartram Museum to list your existing tree in the census and also ask them for info on growing from seed. They are trying to compile all available info on this tree and could possibly put you in touch with a successful grower (from seed). Good luck. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Bartram's Garden


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Josh,
The plant is 10 years in the ground this Spring and bloomed after six. It lost some of its shade because of hurricane Francis, so I'm a bit concerned how it will fare now.
Key


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 4, 05 at 6:57

Key, Nice to know it blooms at a fairly young age. Probably it was a good thing it has had all winter to recuperate after the hurricane and new leaves this spring may easily adjust to more sun.

Have you had a chance to check further on the seeds' viability and the best way to start them? I hope you will post your results here. Good luck. josh


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  • Posted by Ron_B USDA 8 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 6, 05 at 17:20

I've seen Franklinia blooming in a 5 gallon pot.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 6, 05 at 22:14

Oh, Ron, your post may have tipped the balance. I'm making my lists out for this spring, marking dozens of wants then paring down drastically as usual to what I can afford. I grow lots of trees & shrubs in containers...I may very well just have to have a Frankinia alatamaha! josh


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So far none have germinated. Without finding much guidance on the internet, I tried acid and mechanical and no scarification.
Key


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 4, 05 at 7:20

Key, I was so hoping to read of your success when I saw another post from you...I know you're disappointed but hope you'll persevere. After all, you've already beaten the odds by planting your tree in an Azalea bed and then it had to withstand a hurricane!

I'll keep my fingers crossed...maybe just a little more time...josh


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Haven't visited this thread since last Fall, interesting to see that it is still going. I've propagated Franklin Tree from seed for many years, I like seedlings better than cuttings because they are stockier and not topheavy. Finding good seed is the main thing, capsules take two years to ripen. Collect ripe capsules around Thanksgiving. Collect from areas where there are several trees. With a pair of shears, cut the capsule lengthwize then cut through a row of seed. Sound seed will be white inside, if hollow, the seed is no good. I sow the seed in December and protect from mice. Be sure they are watered well and they will start to pop up in April. I use only new pots and a soiless mix. Get them in the sun, let them dry somewhat between waterings.
If Bartrams could propagate them in Colonial America no reason why everyone on this forum can't do it. I think that every schoolhouse in USA should have this tree in front of it (and get rid of the pears). Pennsylvania has more Franklin Tree than any other state. Could this tree have ranged further north eons ago? All that I know is that we have a jewel in our midst and we should promote it.
Sam


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  • Posted by Josh z8 GA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 6, 05 at 2:05

Sam, So glad to know of your success with seeds...I hope you have shared your methods with the folks at the Bartram Museum. On their website they ask for all the info anyone might have...just like on Gardenweb, the more folks report their successes (or failure) the more helpful it is for anyone wishing to grow a particular plant. I read that the Museum has 10,000 kids on tour every year...we might see a few more Franklinias in schoolyards yet~~smile.

For those who don't have access to or your luck with viable seeds, or just want to try, would you give your best advice for rooting cuttings?

I am so glad this post is ending on an upbeat note...things don't look quite so bleak after all...thanks! josh


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Sam- dont propagate from seed exclusively, for the threat of genetic depression is very real. Cuttings from genetically healthy indivituals might be the best bet for this species, long-term. Im suprised why the effect of chronic inbreeding with this species hasnt been looked into yet.

St. Helna Rosewood is a tree that was down to one individual, and has suffered greatly from inbreeding depression.


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Sam, thanks for the information.
Fledgeling, very interesting but I'm not sure I understand. Can you explain more or send me to a link? I would have thought that the genetic variation from seed propagation would be preferable to clonal propagation. Doesn't clonal propagation put all the propagated plants at risk of being wiped out by some disease to which all are susceptible?


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In sexual reproduction, the genetic similarity or dissimilarity between mates strongly affects offspring fitness. Plants that originating from Self-pollination and inbreeding are often not as vigorous as offspring from cross-pollinated plants. The fact is the individuals of this species are probably all very closely related because they all originate from the same original seedstock, and genetic variety is probably at best low- at worst virtually nonexistent. Closely related plants that are inbred often have genetic defects and low vigor. (A big problem with cultivated dawn redwoods, all from a very limited amount of seeds collected at the time of initial discovery, now various seeds with various genes are being used for a healthy genestock here- these selections are not yet available, but the results will be released soon). The best way to combat this when propagating your own plants is to encourage cross-pollination and to selectively thin all but the most vigorous seedlings, and to not propagate seeds from individuals with visible defects.

Above I mentioned st Helna Rosewood - I gave the incorrect name, in addition to misspelling the island name. The correct name is St. Helena Redwood, Trochetiopsis erythroxylon - the same genetic improvement programme (encouraging cross-pollination and to selectively thinning all but the most vigorous seedlings, and to not propagate seeds from individuals with visible defects) is being used to ensure the fittest genetic stock possible for this species as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seee this link under catigory Ethnobotany to learn more about western stock inbreeding of Metasequoia


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Fledgeling, very interesting and thanks! I certainly see your point, and from what I now read this is clearly a problem in threatened or isolated plant species.

One aspect seems odd to me though, and I preface this comment with the fact that I know next to nothing about plant genetics, it still seems to me like recommending clonal reproduction is somehow a defeatist attitude. Even if most of the seeds are genetically inferior, the introduction of any genetic diversity would intuitively seem like the best long-term hope for the species. At some point, if there were enough viable plants and enough generations, there would be favorable recombination events - maybe some that are not obvious in terms of seed viability or vigor - that protect against a particular pathogen, and overcome the disadvantage of inbreeding depression. Perhaps it is unrealistic to think that a species can recover through that mechanism?


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Some species have recovered from lower points. You are right, however about the genetic diversity, it is in the best for the long-term... Im not sure exactly now that i look back quite why i said that clonal propagation would be best. Certainly, we should k


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Your right

Some species have recovered from lower points. You are right, however about the genetic diversity, it is in the best for the long-term... Im not sure exactly now that i look back quite why i said that clonal propagation would be best. Certainly, we should keep cuttings from geneticaly healthy individuals incase of severe inbreeding depression and try again from the healthy stock, and when propagating the species from seed, it would be good to have an references for what the species should look like incase our breeding efforts cause it to stray significantly from the form we originally found . But long term, you are right, although it might take a very long time for such differences in disease resistance to be seen, that shouldnt deter us from starting! I think your right, I dont know what I was thinking when I said clonal propagation was best long-term!


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Nearly Native Nurseries in Senoia, Georgia sells the tree. Here's the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nearly Native Nursery


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I just planted my first Franklin Tree a month ago. I see new growth,but there are only a few actual leaves so far. Is this normal?


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  • Posted by Josh z8a AL (My Page) on
    Wed, May 4, 05 at 2:21

Rpurdy, I was hoping someone with experience with this particular tree would see your question, but I do know that with any new transplant the roots are most likely taking most of the energy now, settling into new soil. Healthy new leaves, even if sparse, are a good sign and of course will be feeding the tree to help it adjust. Good luck. You might try posting over on the Trees Forum...lots of tree experts there. josh


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I just stumbled onto this long and very interesting thread. I have grown a number of Franklinias from seed and given/traded them all away except for one that I planted in the ground two years ago. It bloomed beautifully last year but never set any seeds--it may be because of the self-pollination issue that was mentioned above, but the seeds I've used have always been from single trees that didn't have another Frank within3-4 blocks (I'm not good at guessing mileage.) So I'm still unsure of why I didn't get any seeds.

On a happier note, there is a nursery in New Jersey that is trying to improve the genetic strength of Franks. They had a wonderful system--they'd return to each person (who donated Franklinia seeds) a number of seedlings that had sprouted from someone else's donation. I can't remember the details, but one of the GW people that I told about this just let me know that he'd received his allotment of seedlings. So maybe in a few years there will be a supply of genetically stronger Franks. Let's hope so--it is a beautiful tree.
Ginny


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  • Posted by Josh z8a AL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 29, 05 at 19:44

Ginny, Thanks for adding your experience with Franklinia to this thread (and also for adding more seedling trees to the total being grown~~~smile). I wonder if you could obtain from your GW friend the name of the New Jersey nursery which has set up the seed exchange system and post it here. Sounds like such a good project and others with access to seeds might want to participate. Thanks. Josh


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I am pasting the entire message here so that you can see how the program works. I don't know for sure that they are still looking for seeds; this email is nearly two years old. Let's hope they are successful in improving this beautiful tree!
Ginny

J.G. Akerboom Nurseries, Inc. is a leading provider of deciduous and conifer seedlings to the horticulture community. We are currently seeking out seed sources for Franklinia alatamaha from a variety of geographic locations around the United States in an effort to increase the genetic diversity of the species. Because this species has only been found once in the wild, and because it is typically propagated from rooted cuttings, Franklinia suffers from a severe genetic bottleneck. As a result, the species has very poor viability from seed and is also susceptible to a variety of fungus, insect, and environmental diseases. Our Nursery is seeking out seed sources from individuals, Arboretums, and seed houses throughout the United States. Individuals and Arboretums that donate seeds would be rewarded in a plant-for-seed exchange.

This is how it will work. Individuals who will participate in the program will collect and mail the seeds to J.G. Akerboom Nurseries, Inc. (postage cost to be reimbursed to the individual by J.G. Akerboom Nurseries). Upon receipt of the seeds, the number of viable seeds will be estimated by J.G. Akerboom and recorded. The seeds would then be stratified, sowed, and grown separately from other seed sources. Upon completion of the crop (approximately 1.5 years from the time of receipt of the seeds). The number of viable living seedlings that are available will be counted and the seed donator would receive a donation of viable seedlings back from our nursery to grow on (approximately 10% of the viable living seedling crop donated - nominal postage fees paid by donator). The seedlings which the donator would receive would be from different geographical locations from around the country, thereby ensuring that further cross pollination between the new seedlings and the existing plants which the donator owns, would help to improve the genetic variability of the species. Perhaps such genetic diversification may one day result in a more disease resistant species which could be reintroduced into the wild!

For more information about this program, or to participate in this program, please contact Brian Sherman at J.G. Akerboom Nurseries, Inc. by email at brianshrm@hotmail.com, or by calling my cell phone at (856) 207-8222.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8a AL (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 6, 05 at 1:34

Thanks, Ginny. I found the nursery website but there's no mention of the seed program, nor do they list the Franklinia as available. I hope the program was a success and perhaps they are still gathering reports of how the little seedling trees are faring. It would be several years before a definitive result would be known, but it's encouraging to know there's so much interest in this lovely tree. josh

Here is a link that might be useful: Akerboom nursery


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

josh,
just wanted to let you know that the nursery, petals from the past, in jemison, stocks(or did) this tree. the price was very reasonable if you are within driving distance. i bought a containerized one two years ago and, as ron mentioned, it had a flower on it. the tree was only about 3' tall at that time. unfortunately, it did not live. might be the pathogen thing as the land i live on borders a field (now it is in pecans) that could have been growing cotton years ago. i may try another one, still.
another source for this tree that i have used for other plants is the nursery linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: mailorder natives


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by Josh z8a AL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 15, 05 at 5:13

Thanks, Jeff. I'm glad to know of so many nursery sources, but just from the posts here I can certainly see where it got its "difficult-to-grow" reputation. Since I could only grow it in a container, that would be adding extra stress, plus I have no filtered shade, just full sun. I think I shall just go on "rooting" from the sidelines for the rest of you with better conditions for success. Good luck. josh


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Reading this thread makes me want to grow franklinia, even though I'm at the northern edge of its zone -- or even past that, according to some nursery catalogs I've read. We're also interested in keeping bees at some point, and I like the idea of an autumn-blooming tree to help keep them fed.

With the understanding that up here it will probably be more of a shrub than a tree -- do any of you think it's a viable option here in mid-Michigan (if you hold up your hand and pretend it's our Lower Peninsula, I'm about an inch beneath the meeting place of second and third fingers;-)...30 miles northwest of Midland)? I have one possible location in a sunny spot near the edge of our backyard pond -- gets lots of southern exposure sunlight but also gets a bit of shade on the other side. Another is at the northeast corner of our house, although I fear it's too shady there for it to do very much.

Should I attempt this? I'm willing to burlap-wrap it over the winter...but stories about franklinia not being able to tolerate below zero temps have me concerned even in these climate-warmed times. Thanks for any advice -- any cultivation advice, too. I have a lead on a nursery in, I think, New York state that sells small seedlings.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Nazanine; I have no idea why you believe the Franklinia is in the rose family. It is most definitely in the Theaceae or Tea family. To this family is also assigned the Camellias.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 17, 10 at 22:49

Plantinellen, I have no personal experience with this tree and don't live in your climate, so cannot give you any meaningful advise that Google couldn't give you about growing the tree in your area. I would however like to recommend that you start a new thread in the Tree Forum, and ask the question there. Lots more people, that might know, read that forum regularly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trees Forum


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Wow! hard to believe this thread was started 5 1/2 years ago.
Plantinellen, check out the results of the census. So far 8 have been reported for Michigan. My experience is that for best habit and bloom, the more sun the better.
Sam

Here is a link that might be useful: Franklinia census


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Plantinellen, I live on the north shore of Chicago. Last year I had a franklinia planted by my landscaper in a raised planter about 2 feet high and 8 feet in diameter about 20 feet from my house. It survived a very harsh winter last year, but the tips of many of the branches died back. Still, this year, it grew about a foot, from 5 to 6, and is in bloom as we speak. I'd say you have a shot in central Michigan. I'm going to cultivate last year's seed pods indoors under a grow lamp and see how it goes, hoping to plant in the spring. My 2 acre lot is mostly elm and ash, so I'll be losing many of my mature trees over the next decade. I'm planning to mix the franklinia and 50 other varieties in the understory to get established, so they will replace the elm and ash quickly when they die. I'll report on my progress.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

I'm hoping this thread can help me. I have an 18" Franklinia seedling that is in a little pot. I wanted some advice as to when to plant it, how and what I can do to help it's survival. I don't expect the winter we had last year, but this seedling is still so small, I'm just not sure what to do.

Thank you for any insight, I appreciate it.


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Our Franklinia, planted 2 years ago, now seems to be dying rapidly. Four weeks ago it was in full leaf and making blossom buds. Now it _looks_ like water stress but moisture meter says it's in the _same_ _range_ as crape myrtles, a rhododendron, and a gardenia that are doing great this summer so I've got to guess some pathogen, maybe?

We are located a few km NE of Atlanta, Ga., so well within climate zone for the tree.

Would anyone care to comment what might be going on?


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

Crocus sativus is not entirely sterile. Chappellier (1900) reported success by pollinating the saffron crocus by C. graeca.

"Finally, in 1862, I received from M. Heldreich, professor at Athens, an original plant from the island of Syra, of Crocus graecus (Cartwrightianus, Herb.?) which supplied my need. The pollen of this graecus easily fertilised our sativus (saffron), and I obtained almost as much seed as I wished for, the sowings of which, aided by selection and a little chance, have given me very numerous varieties."

Karl

Here is a link that might be useful: CREATION OF AN IMPROVED VARIETY OF CROCUS SATIVUS


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RE: Franklinia alatamaha

I have had a Franklinia alatamaha for some 15 years. I almost lost it in the first location as the clay soil did not allow for drainage. It is now moved to an open woodland edge with looser, well drained, but moist soil. I can see it from my kitchen window. Last year it had 17 bloom. Our winter was brutal with a couple of weeks having multiple days below zero. I wondered if my little GA belle would survive, but it came through just fine and I counted 42 buds which have been opening for several weeks. A UNC grad school friend spent his career in his home state of GA. Systematically, he and a friend looked for Franklinia over a 30 year period, but never found it. They discussed this on a field trip in GA to see Elliottia��"a member of the Rhododendron family��"which is on its “way out.” Many species of Miocene origin have lost their ability to sexually reproduce and reproduce by cloning. I want to try germinating some seed, but noticed one posting which declared seed germination almost non-existent. As with Elliottia and other species, this likely explains their absence in native vegetation. God bless the Bartrams because I love my little Georgia Belle.


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