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Shangri-La Springs, a historic property in downtown Bonita Springs, recently received recognition for having the largest Mysore Fig tree in the state, earning the title of “Champion Tree,” by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Of Shangri-La Springs’ two Mysore Fig trees on its property, the one located in the courtyard is deemed the largest of its species within the state, and its second tree, located on the south lawn, earns title of “challenger tree.” The champion Mysore Fig tree, native to Mysore, India, stands at 85 feet tall and measures 546 inches in circumference, and carries a crown spread of 115 feet. Shangri-La Springs’ tree surpassed the previous Florida Mysore Fig Champion Tree, earning a total of 656 points based on its measurements, a 50-point gain over the previous champion tree. According to the Florida Forest Service’s measurement records, Shangri-La Springs’ champion Mysore Fig tree is unofficially the largest in the nation. However, tree species must be native to the U.S. to be recognized as a National Champion Tree. Shangri-La Springs’ second Mysore Fig tree is ranked third in the state, based on its Florida Champion Tree program measurements, making it a challenger tree with points within 80 percent of the current champion tree also located at Shangri-La Springs.
The Champion Tree Program, created by the American Forests organizations in 1940, recognizes the largest known tree of each species in the United States, and publishes the National Registrar of Big Trees every two years. Florida began its state register, the Florida Champion Tree Register, in 1975 to measure and recognize trees throughout the state, with a record of hundreds of trees including national champions. To be considered, trees of any species, whether native or non-invasive naturalized, are nominated, and measurements are then verified by a Florida Forest Service County Forester before the tree is certified as a champion. To view Florida’s Champion Tree database, visit http://championtrees.freshfromflorida.com/home.mvc/Index.