Palustris Experimental Forest Moon Tree

Elmer, Louisiana

[palustris Moon Tree] [Palustris Moon Tree and [Palustris Moon Tree Plaque]

Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) located at the Palustris Experimental Forest near Elmer, Louisiana, in Kisatchie National Forest, planted in April, 1976. The tree was supposedly planted next to a control loblolly pine from the same cone that was kept behind on Earth. But turns out that the "control" tree (on the left in the second picture above) was actually a shortleaf pine, it is not clear how the wrong tree got there. To further compound the confusion, a sign was put up on the chain link fence giving the story of the Moon tree, but was put in front of the wrong tree.

The Palustris Experimental Station was closed, and the area around the trees has become overgrown since the earlier pictures were taken, but they are right on the other side of the chain link fence that runs along the road. The sign has been moved to the correct location, although it still refers to the other tree as a "control" tree. Below are pictures of the tree as it appears today from the road side.

For more on the story, see the Moon tree mystery unsolved, still funny article by Jeff Zeringue in "Forests and People" quarterly.

[Palustris Moon Tree Plaque] [Palustris Moon Tree Plaque]

The tree is located at 31 deg 10.715 min N; 92 deg 40.628 min W

First two photographs courtesy of Katie Mottram

 Moon tree mystery unsolved, still funny - Forests and People, 2018
 Moon Tree - Heart of Louisiana, February 9, 2024
 Palustris Tree Sign - Historical Marker Database

 History of the Moon Tree Loblolly Pines
 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 20 May 2024, DRW