This December, the Archangel Tree Archive will pay a visit to Big Tree Park, about 16 miles north of Orlando, hoping to gather some young shoots from Lady Liberty’s branches to clone the massive cypress. The non-profit specializes in collecting and storing the genetic material of iconic old trees and then seeking appropriate places to replant the resulting clones, in an effort to preserve them for future generations. Experts estimate that less than 10 percent of the old growth forest in the U.S. is still standing. Some stands of the oldest trees are now threatened by logging and development.
[pl_blockquote cite=”Jake Milarch, Propagator for Archangel”]“We go for the biggest trees, because those are the ones that have survived.”[/pl_blockquote]For years the majestic Lady Liberty was overshadowed by the Senator, another bald cypress that used to grow in this same Seminole County park before it burned down three years ago. The Senator had once reached a height of 165 feet. Postcards from the 1920s show groups of people trying, unsuccessfully, to hold hands and encircle the tree’s massive 12-foot-wide trunk. Experts estimated that the giant tree was more than 3,500 years old.