The Southern live oak, a tree species found in the southern United States, has provided shade and added charm to historic homes and coastal cities such as Charleston and Savannah for centuries.
Southern live oaks can grow up to 50 feet tall with an 80-foot crown spread, and their branches can stretch as far as half a football field. They are commonly adorned with Spanish moss, which is a pineapple relative.
New Orleans City Park is home to the world’s largest collection of mature live oaks. Among some 800 specimens is the Dueling Oak, which marks the spot where gentlemen defended their honor in the 19th century.
USS Constitution, the oldest floating ship in the world, was built partly from Southern live oaks from St. Simons Island, Georgia. The ship was able to withstand cannon fire during the War of 1812, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides.”
Visit the Avenue of the Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to see almost 90 live oaks planted in 1743. Also nearby, the Angel Oak, which is over 300 years old, is worth visiting.
Located in Mandeville, Louisiana, and thought to be between 500 and 1,200 years old, the Seven Sisters is the country’s largest certified Southern live oak and “president” of the Live Oak Society.