Saturday, May 10, 2008

Live Oak, Charleston, SC

Live Oak, Charleston, SC
Originally uploaded by linfrye
I've been in love with these trees since I lived in Charleston almost 20 years ago ... I even wrote my Masters Thesis about these inspirational trees -- trees so rich with culture, economic importance and more ....

They grow along the US maritime forests -- from mid- North Carolina to Florida, along the Gulf Coast, Texas, and along the California coast. Native Americans used their annual production of acorns for food (very sweet, if smaller than other acorns); it's an EVERGREEN oak, keeping its leaves all year, and the wood was highly prized for its use for Naval ships. Along the coastline, it grows more horizontal than vertical due to the sheering of salty winds. They'll grow here in Piedmont NC, but will achieve a more 'vertical' stature. The most famous SC live oak, "The Angel Oak" has a canopy that spreads over a full acre! And I was involved with electing some of these trees as "Constitution Trees" in 1989 --- those trees over 200 years old.

Each live oak has a story behind it -- and they even have their own 'Live Oak Society." These stories are often culturally based and rich with memory and meaning ...

My dear daughter and several friends have graced me with photographs and engravings of this tree -- but I'd like to paint a few others and some time frame one of my own! LOL


Anonymous said...

Beautifully done! We do have trees called live oaks here in Northern California too, but they are sparser and more twisty. And there is no hanging moss, of course.

Anonymous said...

I think you already have painted it!!! Just gorgeous and what a wonderful and engaging story. I've never heard of this tree -- it's beautiful. Thanks for the history/botany(?) lesson. Whew, I'm old and forgetful, is the study of trees under botany (flora and fauna???). DUH.