Forest 93 - Franklin Tree and Pecan


2 tree species planted in Forest 93: Franklinia alatamaha and host forest Carya illinoinensis

Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin Tree)

Franklinia flower in Forest 93. Photo by A Burgess Leaves of Franklinia alatamaha. Photo not from the Arboretum

Origin of the species name

Franklinia is in honour of Benjamin Franklin; alatamaha refers to the name of the river where the species was found.

Family

Theaceae

Date planted

June 2010

Lifespan

Trees of this species can live for more than 100 years.

Franklinia tree. Photo not taken at Arboretum.

General description

This is a small deciduous tree having several vertical trunks. The bark is grey with vertical white stripes and a ridged surface. The crown has a symmetrical, somewhat pyramidal shape and its leaves turn a bright orange-red in autumn. Its fragrant white flowers are similar to camellia blossoms and smell like honeysuckle. Height 7m Spread 4m.

Natural distribution and habitat

Franklinia has been extinct in the wild since the early 19th century. The species was once native to in the southeastern United States. It was only ever known from the Altamaha River valley on the coastal plain of Georgia, growing in acidic bogs in the sand hills. The tree was last recorded in the wild in 1803 although it may have been present into at least the 1840s. The cause of its extinction in the wild is not known, but has been attributed to a number of causes, in particular, over-collection by plant collectors. Mature trees can spread by developing roots where branches are n contact with the ground.

Conservation status

Although extinct in the wild, the species lives on as a very rare, cultivated, ornamental tree. All trees are descended from seed collected by the botanist William Bartram in the late 1700s.

Planting pattern

Planted in a single row on the eastern side of the Carya illinoinensis host forest.

Uses

The species survives as a cultivated ornamental tree.

HOST FOREST: Carya illinoinensis (Pecan)

Carya illinoinensis tree. Photo not from the Arboretum Carya leaves and fruits starting to release the nuts . Photo not from the Arboretum

Other common names

Sweet pecan, Illinois nut, Faux hickory, Pecan hickory, Pecan nut, Pecan tree.

Origin of the species name

Carya is Greek for walnut; illinoinensis is the Latin form meaning it grows in the State of Illinois in the USA.

Family

Juglandacaeae

Date planted

June 2010

Lifespan

Trees of this species can live over 300 years.

Carya illinoinensis male catkins and leaves. Photo not from the Arboretum

General description

This is a large deciduous tree with a spreading crown when growing in the open. The bark is smooth when young, becoming narrowly fissured into thin broken strips. It has compound foliage with 9 to 15 finely serrate and often curved leaflets. The male flowers are hanging, yellow-green catkins and the fruit are large, oblong thin-shelled nuts. Height 30m Spread 18m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to south-central USA and north eastern Mexico. It grows primarily in the rich bottomland soils of the floodplains and valleys of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Conservation status

Although the species still occurs in many parts of its natural range, its primary habitat – fertile areas adjacent to major rivers – has been increasingly converted to agriculture and inundated by dams. Concern has been expressed with regards to the overall genetic diversity of the species.

Planting pattern

Much of Forest 93 is planted in a regular square grid but an S shaped corridor spans the south-western corner. Dense, irregular plantings also occur.

Uses

The nuts of the pecan can be eaten fresh or used in cooking. The wood is also used in making furniture, flooring and as flavouring fuel for smoking meats. Pecan was also used traditionally as a treatment for ringworm and tuberculosis. In 1919, the pecan tree was made the state tree of Texas. In southeast Texas, the Texas Pecan Festival is celebrated every year.

Further reading

Palmer, C (2008) Trees and Forests of North America. Abrams