Patrick Henry Osage Orange

This is the national champion osage orange tree. In 2003, a dendrochronologist  from Virginia Tech determined this tree to be at least 330 years old, making it the oldest and largest osage in the country. The tree is still alive and well. 

Over sixty feet tall, with branches that span more than eighty-eight feet and a circumference over three hundred forty-nine inches, the Osage orange tree (Maclura pomifera) near Patrick Henry’s house is the largest of its species in America, and has been estimated  at  over  three  hundred thirty years  old. 

Named for the Osage tribe of Missouri, who  used  it  for  dense  wood for  their  bows. How did this tree get to Red Hill, a thousand miles east of its native habitat, nearly forty years before the first English settlers arrived? The most plausible explanation is that the cutting from which this tree grew was passed along the North Indian trade network to the Saponi Indians who once lived in the area. Close to a century old when Patrick Henry lived here, it is not hard to image the old orator sitting under this tree playing his violin to his children as they danced around him.

 

 

“United we stand, divided we fall…” Patrick Henry, March 4, 1799