A Tribute to a Great Cypress Tree

17 12 2008

Here at the Team Wicanders headquarters, we are in awe of great trees.  Recently, our attention was drawn to an ancient bald cypress tree, called Big Mama, which recently didn’t make it through 2008, as its health had been declining due to boring insects. When other cypresses were showing new leaves in the Spring, Big Mama was barren. Efforts to save the tree were unsuccessful.


Big Mama is located in a remote swamp about 80 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia.  Mr. Byron Carmean, the retired horticulture teacher who discovered Big Mama in 2005, says the tree is 1,500 to 2,000 years old.  At 123 feet high and 35 feet around, the tree was declared the state’s largest in October 2005. Surviving centuries of hurricanes, floods, and droughts…we’re reminded of two of our favorite trees, The Angel Oak and The Whistler Tree.


The Whistler Tree is the world’s oldest and largest cork oak, and magically captures our due respect. It is located in the town of Aguas de Moura in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Planted in 1783, and 225 years young, it was first harvested of its precious bark in 1820 and is the most productive cork oak tree on record.  Still thriving in the Montado Forest—the eco-system which is home to abundant flora, fauna, and wildlife like the Iberian lynx—the Whistler Tree is a wonderful example of the creation of shared value. When nature and man work together to sustain a natural environment and create eco-friendly, renewable products at the same time, it’s a beautiful thing to witness. Those of you who visit our blog know about our beautiful cork oak flooring, which is born of nature, and fashioned in a responsible and sustainable manner for living.

The Angel Oak is another great and ancient tree in South Carolina. Several of our team members are still talking about their emotional visit with this unbelievable tree. We have pictures on our post here.

Fortunately, the cypress is a remarkably durable wood, meaning that Big Mama will likely stand for decades more to impress and inspire children and adults alike. It’s so rare to be in the presence of one of these great trees. We hope you have an opportunity to see one.

Until next time…

:: Digg it :: :: Stumble It! :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: add to simpy :: seed the vine




One response

17 12 2008
Jack Gescheidt

I tripped into your website posting about the Angel Oak (AO) and thought you should know she needs your help:

The Angel Oak is currently threatened by a multi-acre 600-housing unit development. While developers claim they won’t cut down the Angel Oak itself, they WILL clearcut thousands of trees and hundreds of acres of the surrounding buffer forest. They do not even mention this in their plans, but instead say only they won’t kill the Angel Oak.” They do not see, or do not admit, that the surrounding forest has for centuries protected the magnificent Angel Oak from weather and too much human attention (climbing, graffiti, et. al.) It is not just a solitary living organism, but an integral part of an ecosystem,

The massive development will inevitably, eventually, lead to the death of the Angel Oak tree, be it in years or decades.

A website with much more info about this disaster in the works has been set up by locals: http://www.savetheangeloak.org

Visit it and help save the Angel Oak Tree—and the surrounding forest it is a part of.


Jack Gescheidt
Founder, The TreeSpirit Project

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