The Angel Oak is a Southern live oak tree located in Angel Oak Park, in Charleston, South Carolina, on Johns Island, one of South Carolina's Sea Islands. It is estimated to be more than 1500 years old, standing 20 m (65 ft) tall, 2.47 m (9 ft) in diameter, and the crown covers an area of 1,580 mē (17,000 square feet). Its longest limb is 27 m (89 ft) in length. The tree and surrounding park have been owned by the city of Charleston since 1991.
The oak derives its name from the Angel estate, although local folklore told of stories of ghosts of former slaves would appear as angels around the tree.
Angel Oak is a live oak. It is native to the Lowcountry and is not very tall but has a widespread canopy. Lumber from the live oak forests in the Sea Islands was highly valued for shipbuilding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Angel Oak stands on part of Abraham Waight's 1717 land grant. Mr. Waight owned several plantations.
The Angel Oak is thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River. Acorns from the Angel Oak have grown to produce authentic direct-offspring trees. Live oaks generally grow out and not up, but the Angel Oak has had plenty of time to do both, standing 65 ft (20 m) high and with a canopy providing 17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of shade. Its limbs, the size of tree trunks themselves, are so large and heavy that some of them rest on the ground (some even drop underground for a few feet and then come back up), a feature common to only the very oldest live oaks.
It has survived countless hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and human interference. Angel Oak was damaged severely during Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but has since recovered.
In the spring and summer there are numerous artistic events, including the "Evening Under the Angel Oak" series, which feature music, dramatic presentations, and various other activities, especially during the Spoleto Festival in May/June.