Claiming an average height of 65.5 feet and limb spread of 88.5 feet, live oaks come in a range of shapes and sizes.
By Rita Thiel
Secreted away in the hidden backyards, dirt lanes and dead-end paths of Ocracoke are the hidden gems, the “other oaks of Ocracoke.”
The southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) is the stalwart of the southern trees, with a specimen as old as 1,000 years growing in Texas. It has long been revered owing to its draping, twisted limbs, rugged, ridged bark and dense, ship-worthy wood.
Ocracoke is home to several well-known live oaks, chronicled in Phillip Howard’s Village Craftsman blog https://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com.
Easily seen along Howard Street and frequently photographed, these famous oaks receive their accolades.
But the island has many live oaks—little known yet curious and grand in appearance.
They are the gentle giants, concealed behind private residences and on property that most will not have the privilege to see.
Live oaks are considered deciduous evergreens that lose their leaves in early spring as the new leaves are emerging.
Steadfastly spreading their limbs, they twist and turn to get the most fortuitous sunlight and find their place on this sometimes harsh and unpredictable island.
Stalwart witnesses to years gone by and times still to come, they, too, have stories to tell of ship-building days and pirate encampments.
To see some of the island’s ancient live oaks, take a stroll through Springer’s Point off Loop Road.