The Angel Oak is a live oak on Johns Island, SC. Sounds boring, but I read it was a Top Ten Things to Do so we drove over one day.
It is at least 400 years old. That means that it was a sapling in the early 1600s. It was here when Jamestown was settled, and possibly before. Accurately dating a live oak is very difficult. The heartwood tends to rot away so ring dating is not precise. I have found estimates of 400, 700, and over 1,500 years old for the age of the Angel Oak.
Live oaks (Quircus virginiana) are amazingly tough trees, able to withstand drought, flood, salt water flooding, fire, and strong winds. The roots are deep and run far, but the branches will lower until they hit the ground, providing additional support for the tree.
The acorns produced by live oaks help to feed wildlife. While low in protein, they are high in fiber and fat. Some sources suggest that the native Americans used the acorns to produce a cooking oil similar to olive oil. While humans have found other sources of food, the acorns are happily eaten by deer, turkey, and squirrels.
The ethereal beauty of the Angel Oak is enhanced by the ecosystem that relies on it. Resurrection ferns and Spanish moss provide a softness to the hard oak. A visit to the Angel Oak is free, a terrific place for a picnic, and definitely worth the trip.