An evergreen unisexual tree of straight pyramidal shape up to 100 ft high in Tasmania, with a trunk 3 to 6 ft in diameter. In a comparatively young state in cultivation it is a graceful plant with arching branches and pendulous twigs. Leaves about 1⁄24 in. long, blunt, closely pressed to the stem like those of a cypress, sharply keeled so as to give a rather quadrangular shape to the twig, sprinkled with stomata. The female cones are very small and are clustered at the recurved ends of the twigs.
Native of Tasmania, often on the banks of rivers; first collected by Allan Cunningham in 1810; cultivated at Kew in the forties of last century. It was named in honour of Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer, and is the most valuable timber tree of the island.
Like some other southern hemisphere conifers it has proved hardy enough in the milder parts of the country, but grows slowly and gives no promise of developing into more than a small bushy tree, though a very decorative one none the less. Of the examples mentioned in earlier editions, the tree at Cold-rennick, Cornwall, is now dead, after taking a century to reach a height of 22 ft; the specimen at Borde Hill, Sussex, 10 ft high in 1939, is only a little taller now (1971), but suffered no damage in recent hard winters; one of those planted in the National Pinetum, Bedgebury, in 1926 still survives and is 14 ft high (1971). The tallest known are at Castlewellan, Co. Down, and at Fota, Co. Cork, Eire, both 28 ft high (the latter planted in 1854). Other examples can be seen at Leonardslee and Sheffield Park, Sussex; and at Bodnant, Denbigh.