Now’s the time to see the beautiful white, camellia-like flowers of the blooming Franklinia tree. The state champion, Franklinia, is on the picnic grounds at Triadelphia Recreation Area, 2800 Triadelphia Lake Road, Brookeville. Three other of these uncommon trees also have been identified near the picnic grounds.
Sometimes called a Franklin tree, this champion tree is recognized as the largest specimen of its kind within Maryland.
This Franklinia is 26 inches in circumference, 32 feet in height and 32 feet in crown spread. By comparison, the current national champion, located in Pennsylvania, is one inch taller, but 10 inches longer in crown spread and 16 inches wider in circumference.
These rare trees, now distinct in the wild, were discovered along Georgia's Altamaha River in 1765 by botanists John and William Bartram and named for their family’s friend, Benjamin Franklin. This beautiful landscape tree is now considered extinct in the wild. Only trees that were planted still exist throughout the country. Franklinias need a rich, moist and well-drained soil and the warmth of the full sun.
In August, you can see the white, camellia-like flowers of the Franklinia and smell its lovely fragrance. In the fall, the leaves turn a yellow to a scarlet color to signal the season’s shorter days.
In addition to the beauty of this tree, they are noted as a favored perch for the birds that call Triadelphia home, including cardinals, Carolina wrens, robins and mockingbirds.
Information for this post provided by:
John C. White, firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the Franklinia tree, here’s a great article entitled: America’s ‘First’ Rare Plant: The Franklin Tree by Lucy M. Rowland