WSU Clark County Extension

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Franklin Tree

Scientific name: Franklinia alatamaha

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:5 to 8
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:25 ft
Width:15 ft
Bloom:Showy flowers
Bloom Time:August to October
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Franklin Tree is best known by the formation of showy white, camellia like flowers which appear in the fall. They are quite showy what with their orange stamens in the center of the flower. Each flower can reach 3” in diameter. Early botanists named this tree for Benjamin Franklin.

This is a small, deciduous garden tree that may only attain 20’ in height, and 15’ in width at maturity. It forms a symmetrical, round shape at maturity.

It bears leaves which resemble those of sweetbay magnolia, it that they are narrowly obovate, simple and are arranged in a alternate fashion. They have finely serrated edges and are 3” to 6” in length. During the summer the leaves are dark green above and paler below. In the fall the leaves turn a very nice orange-red color before they are shed.

The flowering period extends from August through October. Flowers morph to 1”, brown round balls which don’t attract wildlife.

The bark is interesting as well as it displays a white network over the grey to reddish brown background.

Full sun is preferred. Select a well drained site to avoid problems with root rot.

Root rot can lead to a thin tree with a short life span.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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