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Connecticut State Tree

White Oak Quercus alba Adopted:1947
Connecticut State Tree: White Oak
Connecticut State Tree: White Oak
© Bill Cook, Michigan State University

Adoption of the Connecticut State Tree

Supported by the story of Connecticut's famous Charter Oak, the selection of a state tree in Connecticut was almost a no-brainer. The following is a rendition of the story from the Connecticut Register & Manual and used with the permission of the Connecticut Secretary of State.

(White Oak, Quercus alba)

Deep-rooted in the historic tradition of Connecticut, the Charter Oak is one of the most colorful and significant symbols of the spiritual strength and love of freedom, which inspired our Colonial forebears in their militant resistance to tyranny. This venerable giant of the forest, hundreds of years old when it hid the treasured Charter in 1687, finally fell during a great storm on August 21, 1856.

Two English kings, a royal agent, a colonial hero and a candle-lit room are the figures and backdrop in one of the most thrilling chapters of America's legend of liberty. The refusal of our early Connecticut leaders to give up the Charter, despite royal order and the threat of arms, marked one of the greatest episodes of determined courage in our history.

On October 9, 1662, the General Court of Connecticut formally received the Charter won from King Charles II by the suave diplomacy of Governor John Winthrop, Jr., who had crossed the ocean for the purpose.

Connectictu Charter Oak
The Charter Oak by Charles de Wolfe Brownell

Twenty-five years later, with the succession of James II to the throne, Connecticut's troubles began in earnest. Sir Edmund Andros, His Majesty's agent, followed up failure of various strategies by arriving in Hartford with an armed force to seize the Charter.

After hours of debate, with the Charter on the table between the opposing parties, the candle-lit room went suddenly dark. Moments later when the candles were re-lighted, the Charter was gone. Captain Joseph Wadsworth is credited with having removed and secreted the Charter in the majestic oak on the Wyllys estate.

Skip forward about 260 years. On August 16, 1922, a group of men at Hammonasset Beach came up with an idea to create an association that would work to promote the better protection of shade, fruit and forest trees in the State of Connecticut. This idea led to the founding of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association.

In support of their mission to, "promote the protection and care of trees in Connecticut," the Connecticut Tree Protective Association spearheaded an effort to persuade the General Assembly to adopt the white oak as Connecticut's official state tree.

In 1947, Representative Edgerton introduced House Bill No. 688 promoting the white oak as the state tree of Connecticut.


With the backing of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association and the support of members of the State Forest Commission, the House approved this bill on March 11. Senate approval followed on March 18.

On April 16, 1947, Governor James L. McConaughy signed the legislation making the white oak (Quercus alba) the state tree of Connecticut.

The General Statutes of Connecticut

The following information is excerpted from the General Statutes of Connecticut, Title 1, Chapter 3, Section 3-110.

Additional Information

Connecticut State Tree: White Oak
Connecticut State Tree: White Oak Fruit
© Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Quercus alba: University of Connecticut Plant Database of Trees, Shrubs and Vines.

White Oak (Quercus alba L.): Tree Identification Fact Sheet from the Virginia Tech.

Plant Profile for Quercus alba L. (White Oak): USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Quercus alba L. (White Oak): United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service: Agriculture Handbook 654: Silvics of North America.

Quercus alba (White Oak): Plant Encyclopedia from MyGardenGuide.

State Tree List: List of all of the state state trees.

A Field Guide to Eastern Trees (Peterson Field Guides) (Paperback): by George A. Petrides, Janet Wehr (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin; 2 edition (July 15, 1998).

A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs : Northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-central Canada (Peterson Field Guides(R)): by George A. Petrides (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin; 2 edition (September 6, 1973).

A Field Guide to Eastern Forests : North America (Peterson Field Guides(R)) (Paperback): by John C. Kricher (Photographer), Gordon Morrison (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin (October 15, 1998).

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees : Eastern Region: by Elbert Luther Little. Knopf; Chanticleer Press ed edition (May 12, 1980).

America's Famous and Historic Trees: From George Washington's Tulip Poplar to Elvis Presley's Pin Oak (Hardcover) by Jeffrey G. Meyer. America's Famous and Historic Trees tells the stories of various trees that Meyer and his cohorts rescued or propagated: oftentimes, when trees were going to be cut down, he and his workers headed off the bulldozers, rescuing the tree with their massive tree hoe. Other trees--like the Indian Marker Pecan in southeast Dallas--were propagated before they died.

Trees : National Champions (Hardcover) by Barbara Bosworth. Bosworth captures the ineffable grace and dignity of trees with clarity and directness: the green ash that shades a midwestern crossroads, the common pear that blooms in a Washington field, and the Florida strangler fig with its mass of entwining aerial roots. Her black and white photographs, panoramic views taken with an 8 x 10 camera, show the immensity of the largest species and the hidden triumphs of the smallest

Plants, Seeds & Flowers: Bulbs, seeds, plants, fertilizer, plant containers and more.

Gardening Tools: Pruners, rakes, shovels, hoes, trowels, cultivators and tillers, greenhouses, yard carts and more.

State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002

State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)

Source: sourceDescription, October 8, 2005
Source: Public Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut in the Year 1947, Hartford, Conn. 1947
Source: Connecticut Tree Protective Association, October 16, 2005
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: Revised Edition (Reprint)- George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938

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