Ask a Texan if there is anyone famous from his state and he'll likely rattle off a list of names for over an hour. Ask if there are famous restaurants to eat at, and he'll give you another hour. So, when you attempt to stump a Texan by asking if there are any famous trees in his state, prepare to pull up a chair, because the list is long and it could take awhile.
Heart O'Texas Oak (Live oak - Quercus virginiana)
The Heart O'Texas Oak is a live oak located close to the town of Mercury, Texas. The tree is famous due to its location in the geographic center of the state. Recognized in 1992 by the U.S. Geodetic Survey, the publicity from this finding earned the tree its name and created a burgeoning tourist trade with visitors stopping by to be photographed in front of the oak. Visitors can find the tree on Ranch Road.
Treaty Oak (Live oak - Quercus virginiana)
Another of Texas's famous live oaks, the Treaty oak is located in Treaty Oak Park in Austin, near the banks of the Colorado. This is the last of a stand of trees once known as the "Council Oaks," denoting where Texas founder, Stephen F. Austin, signed the first boundary agreement between the Indians and the whites. The Indians have long revered the tree and claimed that drinking a tea made of its leaves would secure true love.
The Campfire Girls saved the tree from being moved in 1937 and the tree was saved yet again in 1989 when a vandal attempted to kill the tree with poison. While the tree once had an expansive canopy some 125 feet wide, the attempt to kill the tree left it lopsided and ragged, and not even half of its former size--creating a torrent of support that ended up in the vandal getting prison time.
Jumbo Hollis Pecan (Pecan - Carya illionoiensis)
There is no other pecan quite like the Jumbo Hollis tree, which has the honor of yielding the largest pecans in the world. Noted by Ripley's "Believe it or Not" column, the nuts from this tree were, on average, more than twice the size of average pecans. The name comes from the original owner of the tree. In 1919 the tree produced an amazing 1,015 pounds of pecans.
With a height of 75 feet and a spread just under 100 feet, the Jumbo Hollis is not the tallest pecan tree in Texas, but no other tree has matched the size of its fruit. The tree continues to produce nuts and is located on private property in Bend, Texas.
Goose Island Oak (Live oak - Quercus virginiana)
This protected tree is considered to be one of the largest live oak trees in Texas and was recognized in the 1960s as the largest live oak in the United States.
Local legends claim that cannibalistic council and pagan ceremonies were carried out by Indian tribes under this tree. Other legends hold that the tree was an important rendezvous point for the Comanche Indians. No longer considered the biggest live oak, the tree was measured in 2002 at 340 inches in circumference and 43 feet high. The tree is thought to be 1,000 years old.
Courthouse Cedar - Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)
The Eastern Red Cedar that grows just outside the Brazos County Courthouse was planted as a sapling in 1841 during the creation of Brazos County. The tree has been moved three times--each time the courthouse has moved. Starting at a home of Joseph Ferguson, the tree was still young when moved to the new courthouse in Navasota.
When the next courthouse was built in 1870, the cedar was moved to the new, and current, site. Not a particularly large tree, the cedar is about 45 feet in height and is surrounded by benches.