Saturday, April 28, 2012
258. Benjamin Franklin Can't Be Blamed
Readers of this blog know that it was Benjamin Franklin who introduced tallow tree from China to North America in the 1700s. At that time Franklin was in London, where he sent tallow tree seeds to Georgia. Loving the great economic value, Franklin hoped the tree would be flourishing in the colonies.
Today tallow trees are classified as an invasive species. The trees are spreading so fast that they are destroying native habitates. I have been worried about it, for Franklin might be blamed for the situation.
Thanks to the research done by Even Siemann, Professor and chair of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice Unversity, we have known that the tallow trees that are running amok in most of the United States aren't from the batch that Franklin imported. The descendants of Franklin's trees are confined to a few thousand square miles of coastal plain in northern Georgia and soucthern South Carolina. All other U.S. tallow trees are descendants from seeds brought to the United States around 1905. More information is available from the report by Huston Chronicle Garden Editor Kathy Huber, Did Ben Franklin Bring Invasive Tallow Tree to Texas?