USA Official State Tree of Connecticut

Connecticut Official State Tree (CT)

White OakTree, a state symbol

(Fagaceae Quercus alba)
Adopted in 1947.

 

Deep-rooted in the historic tradition of Connecticut, the Charter Oak, Fagaceae Quercus alba,  was adopted as the state tree in 1947.  It is one of the most colorful and significant symbols of the spiritual strength and love of freedom which inspired our Colonial forebears in their militant resistance to tyranny. This venerable giant of the forest, over half a century old when it hid the treasured Charter in 1687, finally fell during a great storm on August 21, 1856.

 

 

Two English kings, a royal agent, a colonial hero and a candle-lit room are the figures and backdrop in one of the most thrilling chapters of America's legend of liberty. The refusal of our early Connecticut leaders to give up the Charter, despite royal order and the threat of arms, marked one of the greatest episodes of determined courage in our history.

 

On October 9, 1662, The General Court of Connecticut formally received the Charter won from King Charles II by the suave diplomacy of Governor John Winthrop, Jr., who had crossed the ocean for the purpose. Twenty-five years later, with the succession of James II to the throne, Connecticut's troubles began in earnest. Sir Edmund Andros, His Majesty's agent, followed up failure of various strategies by arriving in Hartford with an armed force to seize the Charter. After hours of debate, with the Charter on the table between the opposing parties, the candle-lit room suddenly went dark. Moments later when the candles were re-lighted, the Charter was gone. Captain Joseph Wadsworth is credited with having removed and secreted the Charter in the majestic oak on the Wyllys estate.

White oak (Quercus alba) is an outstanding tree among all trees and is widespread across eastern North America. The most important lumber tree of the white oak group, growth is good on all but the driest shallow soils. Its high-grade wood is useful for many things, an important one being staves for barrels, hence the name stave oak. The acorns are an important food for many kinds of wildlife.

Derscription:
  • Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to ovate in shape, pinnately veined with an evenly lobed margin, 4 to 7 inches long. The apex is rounded and the base is wedge-shaped. Leaves are hairless, bright green above and whitish below.
  • Flower: Male flowers are green, borne in naked catkins, 2 to 4 inches long. Female flowers are reddish and appear as single spikes. Appearing with the leaves.
  • Fruit: Ovoid, but may be oblong, with a warty cap that covers 1/4 of the fruit. The cap always detaches at maturity. Matures in one year, ripens 120 days after pollination (July to September).
  • Twig: Red-brown to somewhat gray, hairless, with red-brown multiple terminal buds that are small, rounded and hairless. Twigs are often shiny or somewhat glaucous.
  • Bark: Whitish or ashy gray, varying from scaly to irregularly platy or blocky. On older trees smooth patches are not uncommon.
  • Form: A large tree; when open grown, white oaks have rugged, irregular crowns that are wide spreading, with a stocky bole. In the forest crowns are upright and oval.

 

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Hamamelidae –
Order Fagales –
Family Fagaceae – Beech family
Genus Quercus L. – oak
Species Quercus alba L. – white oak

 

Source:
Dendrology at Virginia Tech
U.S. Department of Agriculture