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Remarkable Trees of Virginia

Nancy Ross Hugo and Jeffrey Kirwan. With photographs by Robert Llewellyn

BUY Cloth · 216 pp. · 11 × 12 · ISBN 9780974270722 · $49.95 · Sep 2008

This stunning collaboration between the noted garden writer Nancy Ross Hugo and the photographer Robert Llewellyn showcases the fruits of an effort begun in 2004 to research, locate, and photograph Virginia’s most remarkable trees. Four years later, more than one thousand trees had been officially nominated to the project and many others suggested for possible inclusion. The results, presented in this elegant, four-color volume, are astounding. Hugo and Kirwan, the project coordinators, have selected a sample of trees and "tree places" that illustrate the enormous variety, startling beauty, and fascinating history of Virginia’s trees.

Here you will see, through Llewellyn’s incomparable lens, not only some of Virginia’s largest trees, including a newly discovered national champion overcup oak in Isle of Wight County, but also some of the state’s oldest, including baldcypress trees over 800 years old in Southampton County and red cedars over 450 years old in Giles. You will find unique trees like a willow oak in which a tricycle is embedded, fine specimens like the massive American beech in front of Sleepy Hollow Methodist Church in Falls Church, and outrageously shaped trees, like the water tupelos in the Cypress Bridge area of Southampton County. You will find trees associated with famous people and events as well as trees associated with ordinary people in extraordinary ways. Perhaps best of all, you will learn about communities that have gone to great lengths to protect their trees and about places where the public can visit some of the best trees and "treescapes" in the state.

Remarkable Trees of Virginia is a celebration of trees, but it doesn’t dodge hard issues. In a section on urban forests, the authors describe the major problems facing trees in urban areas and point out strategies urban foresters are using to solve them. They describe the ecological services trees provide and issue a call for action both to protect trees in their existing habitats and to find more places where trees can "grow large and long."

Hugo, Kirwan, and Llewellyn present a treasury of Virginia’s trees that is, indeed, remarkable.


"Delivered like a chat over a glass of lemonade, Remarkable Trees of Virginia features fascinating and informative stories about Virginia trees and the people who love them. It includes stunning photography coupled with easily read text divided into categories such as 'champion trees,' 'historic trees,' and, my favorite, 'tree places.' It brims with the 'wow' factor the authors so aptly describe, and it will have you taking a closer look at the trees and tree habitats around you.

Michelle Robbins, Editor · American Forests

"Remarkable Trees of Virginia is not only a remarkable but a spectacular book of Virginia's natural and cultural tree heritage. The engaging prose, full of wit and wisdom, weaves intriguing threads of history from well-known and often little- known facts, anecdotes, and legends. If you are a Virginian, this book is a 'must own,' opening a whole new window to the state's human history and natural forest endowment. If you are from elsewhere, this beautifully produced book will enthrall you and set a standard to emulate.

Stanwyn G. Shetler, Curator of Botany Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution

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