Moreton Bay Fig Tree – Santa Barbara, California - Atlas Obscura

Moreton Bay Fig Tree

The beautiful behemoth is one of the largest trees of its kind in the United States. 

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This Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Ficus macrophylla ), located at the Santa Barbara train station, is among the largest of its species in the United States. The tree is a designated City Landmark and part of the California Register of Big Trees.

In 1876, an Australian seaman—Moreton Bay Fig Trees are native to Australia—presented a seedling of this giant tree to a local Santa Barbara girl. The girl planted the tree at 201 State Street. However, she soon moved away.

Her friend, Adeline Crabb, relocated the sapling to its present location the next year. Crabb clearly had a knack for identifying the right microclimate for the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, as the tree quickly thrived in its new location.

Today, the tree is a well-known landmark for any travelers arriving in Santa Barbara via train. As of July, 1997, the circumference of the tree was 498 inches, or 41.5 feet. The average crown spread was 176 feet and the total height was 80 feet.

The site has additional historic significance as 100 years before Adeline Crabb planted the fig sapling. El Capitan Gaspar de Portolá camped here with his men on August 18, 1769.  during his explorations along the Californian coastline, as part of a Spanish effort to establish California as a colony.