Theaceae (Tea) Family
Mike Carter, Pensacola, Florida 2010
The Franklin Tree is a small tree with beautiful, large, white flowers and an open crown of upright branches. Its preferred habitat is on small sandhills beside a river. Distribution in the Escambia region is non-existent except as a domestic ornamental.
The leaves are about 5" long and 2 to 4" wide (oblong or obovate, short-pointed, widest beyond the middle, saw-toothed, short leaf stalks, shiny green above, paler beneath (with gray hairs when young) and becoming nearly hairless beneath. The leaves turn brilliant orange or red in autumn.
The flowers are about 3" across, cup-shaped, with 5 rounded and wavy-bordered white petals. There will be many yellow stamens, borne singly and nearly stalkless at the leaf bases. Flowers occur in summer and autumn.
Fruit is a hard capsule containing 5 chambers that split oddly from tip to middle. The seeds mature in autumn and sprout new growth during the second season.