- A Society of Royal Oaks -


Cork Oak Tree

Santa Cruz, CAlifornia

This Cork Oak (Quercus suber), the largest in Santa Cruz County, was purportedly planted by Levi Starbuck during the last half of the 19th century.
Starbuck, a seafarer, indulged his deep interest in botany as he traveled the world collecting countless species of exotic flowers, shrubs, and trees. In 1884, Starbuck settled in Santa Cruz County where he built a house and filled his garden with the diverse collection of plants. Today, the Cork Oak is one of only two remaining specimens from Starbuck’s exotic collection. The tree has been threatened with removal several times in the last decades. In 1970, the tree was nearly felled to make room for a new self-service gasoline station; however, public outcry stymied the threat. The tree continues to thrive despite road expansion and increasing development of the area.

educational partners
Garden DesignGeorge Eastman House
Additional Sponsors

John A. Brooks, Inc. • The Brown Foundation • Charles Butt • The City of Charleston • Barb & George Cochran • Topher Delaney• Jungle Gardens, Inc. • Magnolia Plantation & Gardens • Marc Dutton Irrigation, Inc. • Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation • L. Cary Saurage II Fund • Jeff & Patsy Tarr • Seibert & Rice