212. Tuscawilla Park - Southern Live Oak

(Quercus virginiana)

These large, sprawling, picturesque trees, graced with Spanish Moss, are a true sign that you are in “The South”. 

The Live Oak is one of the broadest-spreading of the Oak family, providing large areas of deep, inviting shade.  Reaching 40-60 feet in height, with a 60- 100+ feet spread, it possesses many gracefully curved trunks and branches.

Although Live Oak is sometimes referred to as the “Evergreen Oak”, it is not truly an evergreen.  These magnificent trees naturally lose leaves each spring.  It is as if the new emerging leaf forces last year’s leaf to exit. 

It’s possible to determine the approximate age of a live oak through a simple measurement technique.  Live Oaks with a trunk diameter of  6 feet, 2 inches can be estimated to have achieved an average age of 75 years, while a girth of 12 feet 4 inches would suggest a live oak aging 181 years!  

So now, gather your friends, and go hug the biggest live oak you can find in the park… finger tip to finger tip, all the way around the trunk.   Try to figure out just how old they are.  You’ll gain a large amount of respect for these majestic giants.   What history have they lived through? How many hurricanes?  If they could tell us stories, what would they say..?