How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, August 1, 2011

National Champion Tree in the 44th!

Last week, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) announced that American Forests had declared that a massive Osage orange tree (maclura pomifera) at their headquarters had been declared a National Champion.

The AHS is located just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway just past the stone bridge along the Potomac River on East Boulevard Drive. It's property was originally the headquarters for one of George Washington's five farms - the one he called River Farm. It's a great property and open to the public during business hours. It's also where I was married! A picture showing where the tree is on the property is on the right.

The tree is 58 feet tall and has a crown spread of 90 feet and is at least 200 years old. Given that Osage orange trees are not native to Virginia (they are from Oklahoma through Texas) no one is sure how it got there. The former champion was at Patrick Henry's property in Hanover County. Some hypothesize that Native Americans transplated these trees before colonists arrived although our part of Fairfax County along the Potomac River was heavily populated by colonists by 1700.

You can read the American Horticultural Society's press release here. You can look the tree up in the National Register of Big Trees here.

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