Friendship Oak (Long Beach, Mississippi)
Friendship Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) located on the Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach, Mississippi. The campus was formerly Gulf Park College for Women from 1921 until 1971.
History and folklore
Friendship Oak dates from the year 1487, and was a sapling at the time that Christopher Columbus first discovered the New World. According to legend, those who enter the shade of its branches will remain friends for all their lives.
- The tree was 59 feet (18 m) in height with a trunk diameter of 5.75 feet (1.75 m).
- The circumference of the trunk was 19.8 feet (6.0 m), and the crown spread was 155 feet (47 m).
- The average length of the main lateral limbs was 60 feet (18 m) from the trunk with an average circumference of 7.5 feet (2.3 m) for the limbs at the trunk.
- The tree's crown covered approximately 16,000 square feet (1486 square meters), and lateral roots extended 150 feet (45.7 m).
Numerous weddings have taken place beneath the branches of the Friendship Oak.  Most of the wedding ceremonies have been celebrated by former students of Gulf Park College or the University of Southern Mississippi.
Through the centuries, hurricane winds have defoliated the Friendship Oak and subjected its roots to seawater pushed inland from the Gulf of Mexico as storm surges. At least twice since the mid-1950s, acorns from Friendship Oak have been gathered to produce seedlings for replanting along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to replace live oaks that were destroyed by Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005).
- Gulf Park College Retrieved 2011-10-12
- Friendship Oak measurements Retrieved 2011-10-12
- Patti Carr Black and Marion Barnwell. 2002. Touring Literary Mississippi. Jackson, MS:University Press of Mississippi. Page 234 Retrieved 2011-10-12
- The Live Oak Society Retrieved 2013-07-16
- Gulf Park By-the-Sea, Life, October 16, 1950 Retrieved 2011-10-12
- Weddings Retrieved 2011-10-12[dead link]
- Treehouse Retrieved 2011-10-12[dead link]
- Friendship Oak seedlings Retrieved 2011-10-12