Oak from Goose Island. One of the state's largest live oak trees may be found on the Texas gulf coast, shielded from man but not from nature's forces. It was named the largest living oak in the United States by the group American Forests in the 1960s. Today, it can be found on private property near Waveland and Indian Pass. This giant tree has withstood hurricanes, tropical storms, ice, and fire over its lifetime.
The tree now lives on a protected island owned by The Nature Conservancy. It is open to the public free of charge.
Location: In southern Matagorda County, just south of Palacios, lies an island covered in live oaks. This is Goose Island. The largest living oak on Goose Island is now estimated to be at least 100 years old and probably reaches greater than 30 feet in diameter. The population of this species of oak is believed to be close to extinction due to urban development so this huge tree is very valuable alive.
The tree was first identified by A.P. Schultes, who worked for The Nature Conservancy, as part of his study of coastal flora. He named it Quercus fusiformis after the fact that the lobes of its leaves resemble the shape of a cuirass (Latin for "breastplate").
The "Middleton Oak," the biggest measured Southern Live Oak, grows near Middleton, South Carolina. When the Middleton Oak was measured in 2004, it had a total wood volume of around 4,820 cubic feet (nearly 136 m3) and was the biggest tree in the eastern United States. It was estimated to be at least 400 years old at that time.
This picture shows part of the huge trunk of the Middleton Oak. The branch on the left is about 1.5 inches in diameter while the one on the right is nearly 3 inches in diameter. The whole tree is 93 feet tall and 110 feet wide.
The gigantic live oak tree is thought to be the tallest of its type, at about 90 feet tall. It can be found in South Florida, especially around Miami.
Other oaks reach up to 40-50 feet but are generally not considered giant trees. The term "giant" is used for trees that grow larger than other oaks of their kind.
Some specimens of Tilia americana, commonly called linden or basswood, can reach 80-100 feet but they are rare. This makes the American linden one of the smallest native forest trees in North America.
The name "oak" comes from a Latin word meaning "to drink," referring to the acorn's usefulness as food for animals and humans. A fruit similar in shape to an oak leaf contains several acorns attached together.
Oaks are important trees in many forests around the world because they provide structure and nutrients that help other plants grow. They also produce valuable wood that is used for timber, fuel, and art. This last point is true of the American linden which is widely used in craft projects such as birdhouses and toys.
Some species of oak are cultivated for their aesthetic value.
The Big Thicket National Preserve is a national park in Texas. The Thicket National Preserve in Texas is home to the largest forest in the United States.
The name "Big Thicket" comes from the indigenous people who lived in the area, the Cherokee. They called it "Okeehockaye", which means "big old tree."
The site originally consisted of small clearings within a large wooded area. It was developed as farmland until 1876, when most of it was acquired by the federal government and added to the newly formed National Park Service. Today, over 90 percent of the original thicket remains.
Big Thicket is one of the oldest intact ecosystems in North America. Over 100 species of plants are found only in the Big Thicket, including many rare or endangered species. Animals such as gopher tortoises, eastern indigo snakes, six species of bats, and several bird species can be found here. In addition, the preserve is important for its role as a habitat for southern Texas' carnivorous plants.
In 2003, Big Thicket was designated as a National Historic Landmark. This honor recognizes sites that are important in American history and culture.