For Americans at home and abroad, there are few things that usher in the holidays like the enormous Christmas tree in front of Rockefeller Center. More than 125 million people visit the tree each year, and the lighting ceremony is televised shortly after Thanksgiving.
Once covered in glacial ice during the ice age, the soil in California’s Sierra Nevada is poor, and even the hardiest of plants struggle to survive. Fortunately, one of the world’s most common plants is well adapted to these conditions, and one tree has far outgrown all of its peers.
Amidst the destruction that Hurricane Harvey brought to coastal Texas, one giant oak tree stood tall. Very tall, in fact. ‘The Big Tree’ of Rockport is one of the largest live oak (quercus virginiana) trees in the United States, at nearly 14 meters (45 feet) tall.
Although not native to the island, oak trees have become the signature tree of Galveston. The trees have been through a lot of changes in their lifetimes, and are now halfway across the world being transformed into a living history museum.