If you lived in West Virginia 50 years ago and your mother asked you to pick some leaves from the "tea Tree" to make tea, what plant would you go to?
I was surprised at the answer we found, Franklinia.
A client asked us that question and we started looking for the answer. In cold West Virginia Tea Camellia would die from winter kill and it's not a tree, so it wasn't that plant.
Franklinia was used as a tea and it was very popular with those who knew how to use it. It's height about 10 > 25' and width 6 > 15' puts it in a small tree category and it's height makes it easy to harvest. Franklinia is an American native plant and is related to the tea genus, Theaceae.
Franklinia was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin by Botanist John and William Bartram in 1756. They traveled from Philadelphia and found the plant growing along the Altamaha River in GA. The tea from Franklinia is decaffeinated naturally and that makes it healthier than processed decaffeinated.
Franklinia has great fall color. The glossy leaves turn vivid orange to red in the fall. Flowers are summer blooming till frost and are white, resembling tea camellia. Blooms are present while tree is turning its attractive fall color. Use in the landscape as a specimen native tree. Zones 6 - 9, doing best in 6 - 7. Moist, well drained soil and full sun to partial shade are its location requirements.
Use the leaves fresh or dried.
|Wet Soil Tolerance||Fair|
|Fresh for Kids||Good|
|This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, comments/opinions are always welcome|