JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A recent study by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) found one species of tree in historic Jamestown is likely a descendant of the original 17th-century trees living during the time of English colonization.
The Virginia Department of Forestry said the study was performed at the request of a curious Jamestown visitor who grew a seedling from an acorn they had collected from the historic site last Spring.
The VDOF worked with the Jamestown Rediscovery and Preservation Virginia to examine indigenous trees located on the grounds of the ruins of the first permanent English settlement in North America. Teams examined trees, including cherrybark oaks and willow oaks.
“Afterward, the team showed us some incredible finds in the lab, including botanical materials and acorns excavated from a well that dated to the early days of the James Fort!” the VDOF said online.
The study done on historic tree material found it is likely the willow oaks located on the island of Jamestown today are descendants of the same ancient trees that stood when English colonists settled on the marshy land in 1607.
Willow oak, a stately tree popular for ornamental, lumbar and shade usage, flourishes in moist, well-draining soil and can grow to 120 feet tall. The tree grows quickly, has a shallow root system, and can live for more than 100 years, according to Brittanica.
For those interested in growing their own willow oaks descended from the early days of Jamestown, all you need is an acorn and some land. Stop by Historic Jamestown, located at 1368 Colonial Nat’l Historical Pkwy, Jamestown, for a tour, and pluck your own future piece of history right from the ground on your way out — just like that curious visitor who inspired the study. The tree’s acorns start falling annually around September or October.
If you don’t care where your tree comes from but really want a willow oak, you can buy general seedlings through the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website here.