submitted by Gweneth Collins
The Champion Tree Program was created by the American Forests organization in 1940 to recognize the largest known tree of each species in the United States. Florida has approximately 111 species in the register, most in the tropical region, and also has the most national champions of any state. Florida began keeping a state register in 1975 to recognize the largest tree of each species – native and non-invasive naturalized – within the state.
Washington County now boasts two Florida Champions, one Florida Challenger, and a National Champion. Recently, Falling Waters State Park submitted an application for the State Champion Turkey Oak aka Quercus cerris. The oak tree is located within the park boundaries and stands 46 feet tall.
In 2013, several giant trees were recognized.
The Emeritus Florida Champion Green Ash aka Fraxinus pennsylvanica was 87 feet tall and 77 inches in circumference with a crown spread of 40 ½ feet.
The Florida Challenger Post Oak aka Quercus stellata measured in at 73 feet tall, 153 inches in circumference and had a crown spread of 77 ½ feet.
And finally, the Florida Champion Water Oak aka Quercus nigra is recorded as 89 feet in height, 302 inches in circumference and spreads over 108 feet at its crown.
In 2014, our National Champion Swamp Cyrilla aka Cyrilla racemiflora was recorded at 47 feet tall, with a circumference of 57 inches and crown spread of 30 feet.
Additional information and actual locations of all Florida’s Champion trees are available from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.