Tree Information

Common Name: osage-orange

Scientific Name: Maclura pomifera

Native/Naturalized: Native to North America

Status: not top 3

National Champion: no

Virginia Champion: no

Circumference: 239 in.

Height: 65 ft.

Crown: 90 ft.

Points: 327

Date Last Measured: 2019

Last Measured by: Jason Sprouls, Eric Wiseman, Adam Downing, Greg Zell, Davis Camalier

Date First Measured: 2009

Comments: The tree was national co-champion from 2017 to 2019. However, a discrepancy was found in the trunk measurement method that had led to an over-estimated score, which has been revised downward based on 2019 measurements. Nonetheless, this male specimen, estimated to be at least 200 years old, is a remarkable tree and is impeccably managed by horticulturists and arborists.

It is located on land that was once owned by President George Washington. Washington bequeathed the property, which he knew as Walnut Tree Farm, to his overseer Tobias Lear, who managed the property until his death in 1816. The property was subdivided and changed hands several times over the next century. In 1919, 25 acres that included the osage-orange tree were purchased by Malcolm Matheson Jr., who created a 'gentleman's estate'. In 1973, Matheson sold the property to philanthropist Enid Haupt, who donated it to the American Horticultural Society (AHS). The AHS established their national headquarters on the site and have carefully maintained and upgraded the property and cared for the historic trees on site.

The main structure of the tree comprises 5 discernible stems that diverge above ground line. Three of these stems are tightly appressed at breast height, forming a single fused trunk that contributes most of the tree's height. To the backside of the tree are two oblique stems, one stretching over the garden wall and the other over the main house. These stems are supported by ancient brace rods and support cables. One stem has formed a natural prop on the garden wall. The measurers decided to incorporate these two stems and the large fused trunk into the total trunk circumference measurement by measuring them at 4.5' above ground and calculating a composite functional circumference. The individual measurements were 199", 81", and 104". A basal tape wrap of the entire clump of stems near ground line was 277", but this would not be an equitable measurement with other osage-orange specimens.

J. Sprouls August 2019

Location of Tree

Tree is located in: Fairfax

State Map


Land Owner: American Horticultural Society

GPS Coordinates: 38.74252, -77.0448

Owner Email: dellis@ahsgardening.org

Directions: River Farm serves as the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. Situated on 25 acres of landscaped lawns and gardens, it is one of the Washington, D.C. area's premier gardening destinations. Tree is directly north of the main house. Can't miss it.

Owner Address: 7931 East Boulevard Drive

Alexandria, VA 22308

Owner Phone: 703-768-5700


Contact Information

Contact Name: David J. Ellis

Contact Email: dellis@ahsgardening.org

Contact Address: David is Director of Communications

Contact Phone: 703-768-5700

Contact Info: Arborist who measured the tree in 2009 is James Powell, The Care of Trees. 2009 measurements were: 58' (ht.), 91' (crown), 333" (trunk).


Nominators

Original Nominator(s): David J. Ellis


Additional Information

I.D. Fact Sheet

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