From the world's largest to ones that were here long before the Mayflower, these noble trees are nothing less than U.S. national treasures.
While they aren't celebrated as much as they should be, few things are as iconic as a country's trees. They stand witness to history, being rooted in place sometimes for thousands of years, as generations of people come and go. They act as landmarks; they are the centers around which stories take place. They are workhorses for the environment and give us shade and food. We would be nowhere without them; yet they're not always recognized as the living monuments and eco-superheroes that they are! So in an effort to show the trees some love, we've put together a who's who of spectacular specimens of trees in The States. All trees are worthy of respect; but the following stand out as just a few of the many especially significant ones.
1. Angel Oak: The perfect southern host
The massive southern live oak (pictured above) on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina, may not be the oldest or largest tree in the county (we'll get to those in a bit), but in terms of grandeur, it's hard to beat. Plus, 400 to 500 years under its belt isn't too shabby.
The storybook beauty is more than 66 feet tall, which is impressive for a live oak since they are known for growing out more than up. Proof can be seen in Its longest branch, an arm that stretches out a remarkable 187 feet. The canopy produces 17,200 square feet of shade!
The tree was named for the family that once owned the state, Justus and Martha Waight Angel, and is now the property of the City of Charleston. Local lore suggests that the ghosts of former slaves hover around the tree like angels. That the tree has survived so many natural disasters and plans for land development may prove that it has its own angels after all.
NEXT: The callery pear that withstood 9/11