The Southern live oak tree known as the Angel Oak, has a massive canopy stretching more than 1,889 square yards (1,580 square meters) and trunk of more than 25 feet in circumference. For generations the Angel Oak has drawn thousands of visitors to Johns Island near historic Charleston, South Carolina. It resides in Angel Oak Park which is maintained by the city of Charleston. Visitors from all over the world come to see this amazing tree.
In recent years it has been feared that land development would harm the tree. The shallow nature of the root system is dependent on the water table for survival. The Angel Tree is thought to be between 400 and 500 hundred years old but may be as old as 1500 years. The tree was named for a rice and cotton plantation owner, Justus Angel. During the era of slavery the Angel Oak was considered a neutral spot and slaves would gather under the shade of the tree during the hot southern summer days. The acorns from this southern oak tree have been known to grow authentic direct offspring trees.
Samantha Siegel co-founded a nonprofit organization Save the Angel Oak. If the land can be saved it is hoped that it will become a forested park providing educational programs. The Low Country Open Land Trust has collected all but $500,000 toward the $3.6 million dollars needed to protect the land from developers. This amount is needed to meet the deadline of November 21, 2013.