Rare Plant Flowers

A rare North American flower from the tea plant family is flowering at RHS Garden Wisley. The plant, Franklinia alatamaha, is believed to be extinct in the wild but a few gardens, including Wisley, have a small number of plants. Wisley is one of the few that seems to have conditions that encourage it to flower.

This Summer might have been a challenge for some plants but it provided just the right conditions for Franklinia to flower especially the recent sunny and hot days,” says Colin Crosbie, Curator RHS Garden Wisley. “This is one of the hidden gems that we have been growing at Wisley for some years. If gardeners want to see it they really do need to get to Wisley in the next week as it won’t flower for long.

Franklinia is a member of the tea family. It is a deciduous plant and its leaves turn a eye-catching red as the weather gets colder. It was originally found in 1765 by John and William Bartram along the Altamaha River in Georgia, USA. It was last seen in the wild in 1803 but the plants in Bartram’s garden survived and it is believed that the plants in cultivation today descended from those raised there.


Article posted on 11 Oct 2011.

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