Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friendship Oak Tree
On the beachfront campus of The University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast (formerly Gulf Park), overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, is a magnificent live oak tree 500 plus years old. The tree is loved by former students of Gulf Park College, revered by tree lovers, held in fond memory by those whose wedding ceremonies were conducted on the platform with its mighty branches, and viewed daily by tourist. This is the Friendship Oak.
Friendship Oak keeps her majestic vigil on the Gulf of Mexico, a vigil which dates back to 1487. If asked about the length of stay on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, she might reply: "I was a sapling when Christopher Columbus sailed the Caribbean, and had begun to bear acorns when Ponce de Leon reached Florida in quest for the Fountain of Youth. In 1587, the year Virginia Dare, the first white child born at Roanoke Island, appeared, I had turned a hundred years...."
Current measurements show a 50-foot height; diameter of trunk 5 feet 9 inches; circumference of the trunk is 18 feet 7 inches, spread of foliage, 156 feet. The average length of the main lateral limbs is 60-66 feet from the trunk; average circumference of limbs at the trunk is 7 1/2 feet; the tree forms almost 16,000 square feet of shelter and lateral roots go out 150 feet.