Treaty Oak derives its name from the legends that many a pact was signed beneath its branches. One Tejas Indian legend holds that the brew created by mixing the acorns of the oak with wild honey when sipped by an Indian maiden would cause the return of a straying lover.
Judged the most perfect specimen of a tree in North America, this grand oak is listed in the "Trees' Who's Who" and its picture hangs in the Hall of Fame of Forestry in Washington. In 1989, the tree suffered from a deliberate poisoning by Paul Stedman Cullen. With enormous outpourings of support, both emotional and financial, the tree was treated and saved. About 35% of Treaty Oak remains today. The first crop of acorns since the poisoning dropped from the tree in 1997. These acorns were collected and germinated, and in 1999 were planted around the state and elsewhere, ensuring Treaty Oak's continuing legacy.
A plaque detailing the unique history of the tree and a low flagstone wall were added by the city. Maintenance of the Treaty Oak falls on the shoulders of the city's Parks and Recreation Department who feed it a diet of bonemeal and copper to keep its leaves green and remove the acid from the soil. They also water it weekly, spray for insects and prune as needed--every 5 years or so.