The Moreton Bay Fig Tree: A Balboa Park Icon

Ever notice the spectacular tree outside the Museum’s north entrance? Of course you have! It’s the iconic Moreton Bay Fig tree, which—like most of the other large trees in the Prado area of Balboa Park—was planted in preparation for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Since it was a few years old when it was planted in 1914, its age should probably be computed from about 1910, making this majestic tree more than 100 years old today. While many people would like to attribute its planting to Kate Sessions, San Diego's pioneer horticulturist and street tree planter, there is no documentation to verify this claim.

The Moreton Bay Fig tree is listed in the California Registry of Big Trees as one of the champion trees of the state. According to the registry, in 1996 the tree measured about 78 feet (24 meters) high, with a crown width of 123 feet (37 meters) and a trunk girth of 486 inches (12.3 meters). It shares the champion title for this species with the famous Moreton Bay Fig tree of Santa Barbara, California, which has a broader canopy but is not as high.

Learn more about the most popular tree in Balboa Park. 

Posted By theNAT.

Subscribe to our blog. Receive an email once a week that recaps the latest blog posts about our research, exhibitions, cool science news, and more