The Angel Oak Tree is one of the oldest living organisms in the southern part of USA, east of the Mississippi River. It is located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina, USA. It is estimated to be 400-500 years old, stands 66.5 feet (20 m) tall, measures 28 feet (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2).
Its largest branch reaches 187 feet. It is stated that this huge and magnificent oak tree is almost 500 years old but there is considerable debate about the age of the Angel Oak.
This magnificent tree stands magnificently, but it is not an easy journey for this huge living legend. It has faced and survived a number of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. It was damaged badly by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but recovered and continues to grow.
The species of the Angel Oak
The Angel Oak species is native to the lowland country of the coastal Carolinas. It is a well-known and believed fact that a live oak tends to grow more outward than upward, however, due to the Angel Oak’s age, it has done both. Its branches are magnificently reached in all directions, with some driving underground and then growing back up above the surface.
How it got its name?
The name of Angel Oak comes from the Angel Estate, owned by couple Justus Angel and Martha Waight Angel. However, local legends say the ghosts of former slaves appear as angels around the tree.
The Angel oak tree is now a property of the City of Charleston. Recently, there was a plan to develop an apartment near the Angel Oak which has been scrutinized and fought against by S.C. Coastal Conservation League. They argued that the development may affect and alter the groundwater flow to the tree and clear the nearby forests whose root systems are intimately related with the Angel Oak.
Know Before You Go
There are no shuttle services to the tree park but you can find a very large parking space and the tree is free to view and enjoy.