America is a relatively young country, but we have some ancient and distinguished heritage. Our natural heritage includes the trees that exist quietly in our midst. They deserve our appreciation and protection. Here are five of those extraordinary trees.
Angel Oak Tree
Named for the family who once owned the land, the Angel Oak currently stands at 66 feet tall. It is at least 400 years old. As for shade, the canopy has an extensive shadow of 17,200 sq. ft., which would be welcome on a hot South Carolina day.
Discovered in 2006, this tree has been measured at an astounding 379 feet tall. It is 600 years old and expected to live quite a while longer as it continues to grow ever taller. For its protection, Hyperion’s exact location within the Redwood National Park in California is kept a secret. Many of these incredible trees have been harvested for timber, but perhaps special considerations will protect this one for the foreseeable future.
A heritage left to us from Massachusetts Bay Colony, this European Pear tree was the first fruit tree sapling planted by Europeans settlers. This tree was planted in 1630. The governor of the colony predicted that it would outlive all of them, and he was right. Four hundred years later, it still produces fruit.
A Bristlecone Pine, Methuselah is estimated to be 4,700 years old. Its location, like Hyperion’s above, is kept a secret for its own protection. It’s another of the great California trees and is located somewhere in Inyo National Park.
People familiar with quaking aspens know that the leaves shiver in the slightest breeze. Researchers have discovered that aspens have hidden abilities beneath the soil. Pando is the name given the forest of aspens found in Fishlake National Forest in Utah. This 110-acre forest represents one large organism with 47,000 trees that have sprung from the same root system. They are all genetically alike. They are also estimated to be at least 80,000 years old. That represents a significant slice of Earth’s history.
These trees remind us of the responsibility we have to our descendants. They also remind us to be humble. Here, you can learn more about our tree heritage in America. Consider planting a tree. You can also enjoy the ones living in your community.