Angel Oak

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Angel Oak in March 2010

Angel Oak is a Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. Angel Oak is estimated to be 500 years old.[1] It stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). Its longest branch distance is 187 ft.[2] in length. Angel Oak was the 210th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society.[3][4]

Angel Oak is a tourist attraction for those visiting the Charleston, South Carolina area.

The tree stands on land that was part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant.[5]

The oak derives its name from the estate of Justus Angel (an African American slave owner) and his wife, Martha Waight Tucker Angel.[6] Local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree.[7][8]

Despite the popular belief that Angel Oak is the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River, many bald cypress trees are found throughout the South which are many hundreds of years older.[9]


Angel Oak in July 2008

Angel Oak was damaged severely during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but has since recovered.[10] The City of Charleston has owned the tree and surrounding park since 1991.[11]

Development is beginning to encroach on the site of Angel Oak. In 2012, plans to build a 500-unit apartment complex that would be 160 yards (150 m) from Angel Oak were challenged in court by a group called Save the Angel Oak and the Coastal Conservation League; their concerns included the construction's effect on available groundwater and nutrients.[12] By December, 2013, another South Carolina nonprofit celebrated [13] "the preservation of 17 acres adjacent to the majestic tree."

See also[edit]

List of famous trees


  1. ^ David Elliott (2015-03-29). "Angel Oak Facts". Retrieved 2015-05-20. 
  2. ^ "History of the Angel Oak". 
  3. ^ Live Oak Society listing of oaks 1-500 Retrieved 2013-07-16
  4. ^ Live Oak Society with images and information
  5. ^ "The Angel Oak Tree". 
  6. ^ "African American slave owners". Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ Pakenham, pp. 142–43
  8. ^ Dent, p. 148
  9. ^ "Visiting Ancient Baldcypress on the Black River". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Arboresque: Angel Oak
  11. ^ "Angel Oak Website". 
  12. ^ Angel Oak case ends, The State, April 6, 2012
  13. ^ Angel Oak Preserve Celebration A Success, The Low Country Land Trust, December 20, 2013
  • Samuels, Gayle Brandow (1999). Enduring Roots: Encounters with Trees, History and the American Landscape. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-585-31062-9. 
  • Pakenham, Thomas (2002). Remarkable Trees of the World. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-84300-1. 
  • Dent, Thomas L. (1997). Southern journey: a return to the civil rights movement. New York: W. Morrow. ISBN 0-688-14099-8. 
  • Perry, Lee Tom (2007). Insiders' guide to Charleston: including Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Kiawah, and other islands. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-4403-0. 

Coordinates: 32°43′4″N 80°4′46″W / 32.71778°N 80.07944°W / 32.71778; -80.07944