In the elevated limbs, a number of airplants grow upon the Fairchild Oak’s sprawling limb system. One such plant is Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides. Spanish moss is not, in fact, a moss. It’s a rootless air plant that dangles from limbs and branches. Another common plant, also seen below, is resurrection fern, Pleopeltis polypodioides, a small evergreen that is also commonly found growing upon the live oak’s branches.
The live oak tree was instrumental in the early days of European settlement as its wood was ideal for hull construction of naval vehicles, specifically with hull planking. The curved nature of the live oak’s enormous, thick, and hard branches lent themselves well to the curved hulls of these ships. It wasn’t until the 20th century, when iron and steel became the dominant hull standard, that the live oak found reprieve.
This particular tree, the Fairchild Oak, survived the live oak industry of yesteryear. It also survived innumerable hurricanes, wildfires, and local battles and was likely growing when the United States Continental Congress published the Declaration of Independence far to its north. Today, it is protected in Bulow Creek State Park and stands as a reminder of Florida’s live oak longevity. via Tumblr http://ift.tt/1l85w29