Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Symbolic Trees of the Southeast

There are two trees in particular that are instantly recognizable to southeast natives: the cypress and the pecan. Although these species don’t look remarkable at first glance, these prolific trees deserve a little recognition! They may be common, but they certainly aren’t ordinary. Read on to find out why these two species are noteworthy, if not outright magnificent!


The cypress tree is well-known and beloved in the South – this tree is symbolic for spiritual immortality, which seems very appropriate considering the staggering lifespan of this species. Florida’s Big Tree Park is home to some of the oldest living cypresses in the world: The Senator stands at 125 feet tall and has an estimated age of anywhere between 3,400 and 3,500 years old. Another ancient cypress, Lady Liberty, shares the same park and has been alive for more than 2000 years. If these remarkable southern trees could tell their stories, it would take generations to hear them all!


Many southerners relish memories of pecan pies and drowsy days in the shade of these generous trees. This historic species has deep roots in the southeast – the first major U.S. pecan planting took place in 1772, earning a place in famous gardens like those of Virginia natives George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. By the 1800’s, the delicious yield of this species became a staple crop of New Orleans, Louisiana. The wild harvest of these trees in San Antonio was said to bring in a higher value than cotton! Not only does the southeast produce some of the finest pecans, this region is almost entirely responsible for the taste and popularity of the nuts we still enjoy today!

Yes, stands of cypress and orchards of pecans can be found everywhere throughout the southeast, but that doesn’t make these species boring by any means!

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