A 3,500-year-old tree burned to the ground by a Florida woman, only to be rescued by a cloning experiment long forgotten.
Last winter, 26-year-old Sarah Barnes crawled into the hallowed base of the "Senator," a Florida Bald Cypress tree, historic landmark, and beloved icon.
<p> Barnes and a friend of hers fit themselves within the cavity, but needed a light to guide them through the dark. She later <a href="http://www.wftv.com/news/news/woman-admits-she-burned-down-senator/nK7cc/">admitted </a>to Florida state agents that they were both there to smoke meth. Barnes and her friend soon found themselves watching and filming as the 3,500 year-old-tree burned wildly.</p><p> Standing at 118 feet-tall and 35 feet-wide, the "Senator" was regarded as the largest tree of its kind and the eighth oldest in the world. "I can't believe I burned down a tee older than Jesus," Barnes had said.</p><p> What lost in the accident found a second chance in a forgotten experiment. Nearly 15 years ago, a piece of the Senator had broken off during a storm and was found by Layman Hardy, a Miami science teacher and cypress tree preservationist, according to Babcock. </p><p> He took the limb to Marvin Buchanan, a tree nursery owner in North Florida, who attempted to clone the Senator by grafting clippings of the limb onto roots of existing cypress trees. Out of 10 cloned trees, a handful had taken their own roots, but soon the experiment was pushed to the wayside.</p><blockquote> <p> At the time of The Senator’s demise, the cloning project of hundreds of random trees in Buchanan’s grove in North Florida had been all but forgotten. But Scott Sager, a forestry specialist who used to teach at the University of Florida, had a long memory, Rockwood said.</p> <p> “He just happened to remember this project… and yes indeed we had seven candidates that could replace the senator,” Rockwood said.</p> <p> One day in August, Buchanan’s phone rang with a special order. Soon it was official: The Senator, or at least an identical clone of it, would grow again in Big Tree Park.</p>\n</blockquote><p> The replacement tree, a genetic relative of the Senator named "<a href="http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/the-phoenix-now-stands-in-big-tree-park/vsJQb/">The Phoenix</a>"—a fitting name for a tree reduced to black ash before rising anew—was welcomed into a lot adjacent to the Senator on March 2. </p><p> <a href="http://www.wpmobserver.com/news/2013/mar/06/resurrecting-senator/">Read more at The Observer</a></p><p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="392" id="flashObj" width="615"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1"/>\n<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"/>\n<param name="flashVars" value="videoId=2199685642001&linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wftv.com%2Fvideos%2Fnews%2Fthe-phoenix-now-stands-in-big-tree-park%2FvsJQb%2F&playerID=836827755001&playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAPmbRNRk~,eMJgSV_RKKcXKDRGL0_yBQnqcdQLaidg&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true"/>\n<param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"/>\n<param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"/>\n<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/>\n<param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"/>\n<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"/>\n<embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=2199685642001&linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wftv.com%2Fvideos%2Fnews%2Fthe-phoenix-now-stands-in-big-tree-park%2FvsJQb%2F&playerID=836827755001&playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAPmbRNRk~,eMJgSV_RKKcXKDRGL0_yBQnqcdQLaidg&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true" height="392" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="615"/></object></p><p> <i>Photo by Isaac Babcock for The Observer<i> </i></i></p>
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