At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Theaceae
Latin Name: Franklinia alatamaha
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Foliage: Orange, red, and purple
Bloom: White
Bloom Time: July to August
Shape: Rounded
Bark: Gray with vertical white striations
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 5 to Zone 8
Size: 10 to 20 feet
Spread: 15 to 6 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

The ornamental Franklin Tree—binomially termed Fraklinia Alatamaha—belongs to the Theaceae (tea plant) family, but is the sole member of its genus Franklinia. As its name suggests, this plant is native to the Altamaha River valley in Georgia. Prized for its floral beauty and its scarcity, the delicate Franklin Tree can be difficult to grow, especially in urban environments. It can suffer from wilt or root rot, an onset of the Japanese beetle, or from ill-timed or poorly managed transplanting—made all the more difficult by its fibrous root system. Once planted, it’s best to let a Franklin Tree grow uninterrupted. This deciduous plant’s rounded peak can reach up to 10-12 ft. with a 6-15 ft. spread. With a 5-8 hardiness zone rating, the Franklin Tree thrives in medium, well-drained soils; it is most partial to rich moist loam with access to full sun to partial shade.

This species’ foliage is glossy and dark green, a stark contrast to its ridged grayish-white bark. In July and August, the tree erupts into fragrant, snow-white, camellia-like blossoms which linger until the first frost. In the autumn, the Franklin Tree’s leaves turn stunning shades of blazing orange, crimson, and reddish-purple, further intensifying this plant’s natural beauty.

Observed to be one of the rarest trees in the world, the Franklin Tree was first documented in Georgia in 1765 by botanists John and William Bartram. They reported the plant’s extremely limited distribution—its near extinction thought to be caused by a number of catalysts including natural disasters, over-collection (by plant collectors), and fungal diseases—and it was last confirmed in the wild in 1803 by plant collector John Lyon. No longer found in the wild, all of the currently documented Franklin Trees in the nation are believed to be direct descendants from the seed collected by William Bartram. He named the plant after his good friend—and one of our nation’s Founding Fathers—Benjamin Franklin.

Mature Tree Photos: