The Oldest Live Oak tree in Texas, known as The Big Tree, lives at Goose Island State Park near Rockport Texas. I paid a visit to the Big Tree in February on my way back from the coastal town of Port Aransas. This old oak tree is amazing!
While I was visiting The Big Tree the park ranger and his wife happened to be visiting as well. I found out The Big Tree is not the tallest live oak in Texas due to the coastal winds hindering it’s growth. While we were chatting we heard a Whooping Crane call nearby – not that I could have identified it as such but the park ranger knew.
The Big Tree is a Virginia Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), Live Oak are so-named due to the fact that they remain green and ‘live’ through winter when other oak trees are dormant and have lost their leaves. Live Oaks are common in the warmer climates of the United States from Virginia down through the Gulf Coast and up to California.
The trunk of The Big Tree is over 35 feet (10.7 meters) in circumference and it is 44 feet (13.4 meters) tall. The Big Tree is estimated to be over 1,000 years old and up to 2,000 years old.
Plaque at the front of the Big Tree reads:
Welcome to my home.
I am a live oak tree and I am very old. I have seen spring return more than a thousand times. I can remember hundreds of hurricanes, most I’d rather forget, but I withstood. There was a big fire once. I have fires.
Around me are my offspring. We are an old-dune woodland community. We provide shelter and acorns for squirrels, jays, raccoons, bobwhite, deer, javelina, and most other members of our community.
For most of my life I belonged only to myself. Now I belong to you, or so I’m told. Humpf! Branch breakers and root tramplers the lot of you.
Some years ago someone came and patched my cracks, trimmed my dead branches, killed my pests and healed my fungus rots. Was that you? I’m feeling much better, thank you.
I am tired now. You may leave me in peace when you are ready to go. Please leave my home as you found it. I have important things to do. The seasons are changing again and I must get ready.
A journey through the alphabet with ABC Wednesday Project where people from around the world create a weekly post – visiting the letter O this week.