Magazine article American Forests

A Trio of Spirit Trees

Magazine article American Forests

A Trio of Spirit Trees

Article excerpt

The Grove Place Baobab. The baobab at Estate Grove Place on St. Croix is the largest tree on the three islands: 53 feet high, with a circumference of 53 feet and a 67-foot crown spread. (It pulls in 729.9 points on AMERICAN FORESTS' Big Tree rating system.) The tree has a huge hole in the trunk where, local tradition holds, people have ridden out hurricanes and women have given birth. Veronica Gordon, an island expert on traditional plant medicines-what locals call a "weed woman"-remembers being told as a child that if she went to the huge baobab during a full moon, the hole would open up and she would be transported back to Africa. It was the site of another transformation in 1878, when plantation laborers rallied under its crown in the critical Fairborn uprising.

The Frederiksted Banyan. Popular with locals and tourists until it was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, this enormous ficus tree near the Fisherman's Market in Frederiksted, St. Croix, played a critical role in both the spiritual and labor history of the islands. …

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