After the 2002 loss of the famous Wye Oak in Wye Mills, Maryland, the 275-year-old Linden Oak in North Bethesda, Maryland, has, by some reckonings, become the largest white oak tree in the United States. It is located beside the junction of Rockville Pike and Rock Creek Park's Beach Drive. The origin of the name "Linden Oak" is unknown.
The Linden Oak is acknowledged by three on-site plaques. The first, placed in July 1976 by the Maryland Bicentennial Commission
and the Maryland Forest Service
, celebrates the "Maryland Bicentennial Tree" for its great age. The second, placed by the Montgomery County Department of Parks (also 1976) celebrates the "Linden Oak" as "the fourth largest of its species in the state of Maryland and the largest in Montgomery County". An age of over 250 years, height of over 95 feet and crown spread of over 132 feet are cited. The third, placed by the Montgomery County Department of Park and Planning (no date), honors Idamae Garrott
, a local politician and champion of the environment. Owing to her efforts, in 1973 the adjacent stretch of the Washington Metro
was built in an arc around the tree in order avoid disturbing it.
The impressiveness of the great tree is somewhat diminished by the fact that five of its enormous (and its lowermost) branches have had to be removed. One of the on-site plaques incorporates a photo of the tree in its former glorious state.
According to the National Registry of Big Trees
, a tree in Virginia
with a height of 86 feet and a crown spread of 116 feet is the largest white oak in the country. But at a height of 95 feet and a crown spread of 132 feet — when measured in 1976 — it seems the Linden Oak could replace the national champion.