You may remember my posts about “The Senator”, a 3500 year old Cypress tree in Big Tree Park in Longwood, Florida (Big Tree Park – Home of the Senator, and “The Senator” is destroyed by fire). The destruction of the tree in January of last year was an awful event. The park closed after the fire but it’s open again now and the story has taken a fascinating twist – so I went by to check it out.
The Senator in March of 2013 – the charred base of the original tree is all that’s left.
The Seminole Voice newspaper website had a good article with details on this very unlikely story (no longer available), but here’s a summary:
- In 1997 a branch fell from the Senator after a storm.
- A Miami science teacher happened to be there and happened to know about a North Florida tree farmer who was creating a cypress grove cloned from trees from all over the country.
- The science teacher gave the branch to the farmer who used it to create ten cloned trees.
- Seven of them survived (an unusually high percentage).
- Fifteen years later, in January of 2012, the Senator burned.
- A forestry specialist at the University of Florida heard about the fire and recalled the cloning project.
- Seminole County officials then worked to move one of the clones to Big Tree Park.
- The identical clone (appropriately named “The Phoenix”) was transplanted to Big Tree Park and dedicated on March 2nd, 2013. It’s doing well and is already more than 50 feet tall!
There are some other changes, including a refurbished boardwalk, new signs with information about the park and trees, and new fencing (to keep drug addled arsonists out).
It’s horrible that this ancient tree burned, but it’s amazing that a clone existed. I wonder if people will visit “The Phoenix” far in the future and think about the 21st century, just like I sometimes think about the time 3500 years ago when The Senator first grew.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.
©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved