Historic Trees Make Great Gifts

How to plant the offspring of America's favorite and best-known trees.

| May/June 2001

  • Thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River, the Angel Oak of John's Island, South Carolina, is a live oak that is more than 1,400 years old and measures more than 65 feet high and 160 feet in diameter.

Can an endeavor as pleasant as choosing, planting, and nurturing a new tree become even more rewarding? How about honoring a favorite author, American president, national event, educational institution, or even a rock-and-roll icon at the same time? You can do this by planting a descendant of a historic tree—one grown from seeds or cuttings of a famous “parent.”

You can plant one of Johnny Appleseed’s favorites, a Rambo apple tree, or an oak tree descended from a 1,400-year-old specimen in South Carolina. A tree from sycamore seeds that flew around the moon may get your child’s attention.

Want to stage your own Elvis sighting? You may lure him back with one of several trees whose parent seeds come from Graceland. Or you can create a grove of trees connected to authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alex Haley, or Mark Twain.

Historic tree offspring make great gifts. They are available from museum shops, colleges, universities, and organizations such as American Forests, a nonprofit citizen conservation group founded in 1875 that offers a wide variety of trees associated with U.S. presidents, the American Revolution, the Civil War, famous authors, women, and African Americans. To contact American Forests, call (800) 320-8733 or log on to www.historictrees.org.

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