Following the demise of the 3,500-year-old cypress called The Senator, scientists think that cloning the 2,000-year-old Lady Liberty cypress tree in the Big Tree Park nearby Orlando would be the best solution to give the tree a new life.
Lady Liberty is not expected to make it to 2020, since at any moment she could share the fate of The Senator, which was burned down by a 26-year-old arsonist Jan. 2012., despite the 8-foot-high security fence.
The arsonist was charged for arson and possession of illegal drugs. Tests showed that the woman was high on recreational drugs when she set the Senator on fire. More disturbingly, she even took photos of the fire and uploaded them on her portable computer.
On Monday, a trio of scientists took samples from the 89-foot-tall tree to see whether it is fit to be cloned. Nevertheless, Seminole County which has the custody over the tree recently reported that there isn’t an immediate danger for the cypress.
On Monday morning, three climbers from the conservationist group Archangel Ancient Tree Archive managed to climb up the cypress, despite the many stings from bees from a nearby bee hive.
Scientists cloned the Senator a few years back through a method that employed another cypress tree to graft tissue from the ancient tree onto it. That tree is also located in the Big Tree Park.
The conservationist group that now tries to save Lady Liberty, however, plans to use a cloning method that allows the cloned tree to stand on its own roots. The group argued that the method is safe since it had been successfully applied to 150 types of trees, of which 90 percent survived.
The team of climbers cut young branches from the ancient tree and let them drop to the ground. Those branches will be used during the cloning process. Nevertheless, the team had a hard time to spot new branches in the tree’s crown. They explained that this may be a telltale sign that the tree doesn’t have many years left.
The branches were placed in special containers laden with ice and shipped to Michigan, where the cloning will take place. A separate group of experts carefully analyzed the branches to see whether the tree is affected by a disease or parasites that may harm it.
Preliminary results of laboratory tests showed that the tree is healthy and cloning could soon become a reality.
Image Source: floridaholidayhomes4u