WASHINGTON — The tree struck by the light plane that crashed outside the White House is the oldest on the grounds of the Executive Mansion--a towering southern magnolia planted more than 150 years ago by President Andrew Jackson as a memorial to his wife. She died just before he took office.
The plane apparently hit the ground and then struck the tree, severing a limb but doing no further damage.
Jackson planted the tree sometime during his two terms in office--between 1829 and 1837--but no more precise date is known, according to Neel Lattimore, a White House spokesman.
Today, the graceful tree--as depicted on the back of the $20 bill--stands at the center of a small terrace, shading the tall windows of the State Dining Room and the residential quarters above it.
The plane struck the magnolia at a point just under the one first-floor window that is visible (the Red Room) to the left of the steps leading from the South Portico to the South Lawn.