Nonprofit sampled 2-millennia-old cypress tree for cloning, hoping this way Lady Liberty, the towering cypress tree of Big Tree Park has another chance at life.
Until 2012, the Big Tree Park of Seminole County was also home to another millennia-old cypress tree known as the Senator. The Senator was unfortunately devastated by a fire that ended its life. Now, Lady Liberty is the only remaining cypress tree, estimated to be 2,000 years old. It is slowly withering. Thus, without help, this symbol of Seminole County might soon perish. Members of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive are set to not let this happen.
As such, the nonprofit sampled 2-millennia-old cypress tree for cloning, in strong belief that this is the majestic tree’s only hope for life. Lady Liberty is easy to spot for anyone walking in the Big Tree Park. Besides the placard guarding its spot, Lady Liberty cypress tree has a trunk thickness of 10 feet. As for its length, it measures close to 90 feet. Thus, the cabbage palm trees or the sweet gum trees and the hickory dwarf in comparison. Lady Liberty has lost the lush coronament in its long life. Barely any green twigs may still be spotted on the top branches.
Thus, the nonprofit organization Archangel Ancient Tree Archive ventured to the Big Tree Park of Seminole County to sample some end tops for the genetic library the organization is developing. According to the members, a genetic library containing data on landmark trees is vital to ensure their genetic richness and traits. Through cloning and reforestation projects, as well as horticultural propagation, Lady Liberty and other landmark trees of the nation stand a chance for survival.
David Milarch, the director of the nonprofit believes the cypress tree might perish in as soon as five years. Forestry manager with Orlando, Andy Kittsley and one of the climbers escalating Lady Liberty believes this is the time to take samples for cloning purposes. While Seminole County officials are not convinced of the importance of this action, the remnants of the Senator remind them it’s never too early.
Andy Kittsley was joined atop the 2,000 year old cypress tree by climber Jim Clark. Several obstacles such as bee stings and thin branches were successfully surpassed by the three-member team. Their efforts were caught on camera by Steve Hamblin, coordinator of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive.
Lady Liberty will be cloned in the near future. The Senator, the 3,500 years old cypress tree was also cloned a few years ago. The technique was slightly different than what the nonprofit intends to use now. For The Senator cypress tree, its tissue was grafted on the roots of a younger cypress in the Big Park Tree of Seminole County. Tissue from Lady Liberty is already on its way to a Michigan-based laboratory.
Photo Credits: TripAdvisor