"A tree is a living organism whose average lifespan is far longer than that of a human being. It should be respected throughout its life and have the right to develop and to reproduce freely, from its birth to its natural death, whether it be a town tree or a country tree. A tree should be considered as a subject of law, including when laws regarding human property are involved."

The “Declaration of Tree Rights”
adopted by the French National Assembly in Paris - April 2019 
Remarkable Trees I Have Seen
In my travels, I have seen some remarkable trees. I usually stumble across them by accident, read the signage and come away awed by their age, beauty and history. These trees have been protected by forward thinking people with a respect for nature, so that we may learn something about ourselves and who we share the planet with.

Here are stories of these amazing trees, knowing there are many others waiting to be discovered.
Species: Banyan (Ficus benghalensis)
Location: MauiHawaii
The banyan tree in Lahaina, Maui Hawaii, was planted on April 24, 1873, to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of first American Protestant mission. The banyan known in Hawaiian as paniana, is located in the Courthouse Square, which was renamed Banyan Tree Park. It is not only the largest banyan in Hawaii, but also in the United States. The tree was a gift from missionaries in India. A mere 8-feet when planted, it has grown to a height of about 60-feet and has rooted into 16 major trunks, apart from the main trunk, with the canopy spread over an area of about 0.66 acres.
Species: Kapok (Ceiba pentandra)
Location: Key West, Florida
The Kapok Tree, is also called the Celba tree or Silkcotton tree, which grows to 130 feet or more. It was the sacred tree of the Mayan people who believed that souls of the dead climbed a mythical kapok whose branches reached into heaven. This is not surprising, as a kapok tree can grow 10 feet a year. Kapoks are beautiful trees with wide buttresses at the base, and large, flattened crowns of leaves and branches. The trees drop their leaves once a year in the dry season exposing the branches. The dropping of the leaves may lead to the opening of the large bell-shaped flowers, though this only happens every 5-10 years. The foul-smelling flowers have 5 petals and are white or pink. They open in the early evening in time to be ready for the bats to arrive. Tropical bats provide most of the pollination for the kapok tree. Cross pollination is enhanced since only a few flowers open each evening. The branches come from the top of the tree and extend horizontally, which allows them to be covered with other plants called epiphyte. 
Species: Texas live oak (Quercus virginiana)
Location: Austin, Texas
The Treaty Oak is a Texas live oak tree and the last surviving member of the Council Oaks, a grove of 14 trees that served as a sacred meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa tribes prior to European settlement of the area. This tree takes its name from its role in the history of the Lone Star State. Inscription on the plaque reads “The Treaty Oak was purchased by the City of Austin in 1937 to stand as a living and fitting symbol of the mighty state it has watched develop.”

Before its vandalism in 1989, the tree’s branches had a spread of 127 feet. The tree is located in Treaty Oak Park, on Baylor Street between 5th and 6th Streets, in Austin’s West Line Historic District. Foresters estimate the Treaty Oak to be about 500 years old.
Species: Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana)
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Now estimated to be between 900 and 1000 years old, the Middleton Oak is the reigning elder of all the many live oaks (Quercus virginiana) to be found at Middleton Place. An Indian trail marker long before Columbus sailed across the Atlantic, the tree was incorporated into the garden plan executed by Henry Middleton in the 1740’s. Surviving innumerable hurricanes and earthquakes, the Middleton Oak could also have been harvested by colonial shipbuilders who sought out live oaks for the natural contours of their sturdy limbs to produce the ribs of ocean-going ships. But the great tree has survived to witness events of the American Revolution, the Civil War and the evolution of Middleton Place.

At the beginning of the 21st century the Middleton Oak lost three if its huge principal limbs, leaving it as an espaliered backdrop to the neighboring Sundial Garden.
Species: Kauri (Agathis australis)
Location: Australia
It’s amazing to think that this majestic Queensland Kauri (pronounced "Ko-ree") stood here long before the first Europeans set eyes on Australia. At more than 400 years old, this rainforest icon has adapted to thrive in its competitive rainforest environment. Known as an ‘emergent’ species, the Queensland Kauri grows tall and fast, punching through the rainforest canopy where it spreads out like an umbrella and blocks the sunlight reaching those plants below it. With no low branches and a smooth self-shedding bark, it prevents the likes of vines and other plants from growing up it and competing for light. With the origins of these trees dating back 200 million years, its an adaptation that has served them very well. 
Species: Elm (Ulmus americana)
Location: Washington D.C.
This American elm is one of the oldest and most majestic trees on the Smithsonian grounds. It was planted around 1850, well before the opening of the National Museum of Natural History in 1910. Known as the Smithsonian Witness elm, this tree has seen many momentous events pass between White House and U.S. Capitol during its lifetime. American elms are native to North America and were planted extensively throughout the United States in the 1700’s and 1800’s. From the earliest plans of the National Mall, elm trees were the unifying element that linked the parks, avenues and monument grounds. Around 1930, the devastating Dutch Elm Disease was introduced to the U.S. killing millions of elms throughout the country. Trunk circumference: 17.75 feet, crown spread: 116.5 feet, height: 80 feet
Species: Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana)
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 
The Tree of Life or the Etienne de Boré Oak, was named after the city’s first mayor, Jean Etienne de Boré. Bore, of French descent was the first person to successfully plant and harvest sugarcane in Louisiana on his sugarcane plantation. The tree resided on his property. Today, the tree is assumed to be between 100-500 years old, with most sources agreeing on 300 years old. Some records say it was planted around 1740 and is almost as old as the city of New Orleans itself. The tree now lives in Audubon Park in the heart of the city and shares a fence with the Audubon Zoo. The trunk, 35 feet in circumference, is rooted into the ground and sprawled with bumps. Right beside its enormous base is a piece of wood that reads “Enjoy My Shade! Don’t Trash My Roots”.
Sesame Pork Roast
2 Tbls sesame seeds
¼ cup green onions, sliced
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbls ground ginger
2 Tbls molasses
2 tsp salt
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp black pepper
2 Tbls wine vinegar
1 cup water
4 lb pork shoulder roast
Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until golden and fragrant. Place seeds in a bowl with the green onions, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, molasses, salt, curry powder, pepper, 1 cup water and wine vinegar. Stir to mix thoroughly. Place meat in a slow cooker and pour the marinade over it. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours. 
Thanks for Reading
and Happy Planting!
Faith Appelquist
President & Founder