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Visions of the Old South would not be complete without the Live Oak graced
with Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern. This pleasantly shaped tree has
provided more than just shade and memories for people on the coast where
Even before the coming of the first colonists, native inhabitant's had
used the small acorn from Live Oaks to thicken their venison stew or just
to roast and eat the sweet meat. (Not all Live Oaks produce palatable
fruit. It seems that only some individuals have such acorns and they are
With this nation's Independence came the need to protect itself from
foreign antagonists and Live Oaks from Georgia played a role in this effort.
A May 1774 order from the nation's capitol: "Four ships of war for
the purpose of protecting American commerce against the attacks of Algerian
pirates." New ships required strong timbers for building the vessels.
Live Oak "knees" (the angular section of wood taken from the
part where the massive limbs joined the thick trunk) were used to brace
the sides of the wooden vessels. The strength of the live oak was greater
than any carpenter could fabricate from two pieces of wood. Thus another
order followed: "Every precaution should be taken to secure to the
United States a lasting fund of Live Oaks for future use." Lands
on St. Catherines Island were acquired by the Department of War and the
first of several carefully tended groves of live oaks were secured. Eventually
lands in Florida and South Carolina were similarly acquired.
The live oak, Georgia's state tree, ranges from southeastern Virginia
south along the lower coastal plain to Florida and along the Gulf coastal
plain to southern Texas. Evergreen over most of its ranges, the old leave
persist each year until the new leaves fully develop. In the northern
reaches of its range, long spells of unseasonably cold weather may cause
the old leaves to drop prematurely but the new leaves will make the tree
green again in the spring.