South Carolina Picture Project

Edisto Mystery Tree — Edisto Island, South Carolina


SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Edisto Mystery Tree

Edisto Island‘s Mystery Tree stands about 100 feet off SC 174, just across from the entrance to Botany Bay. While no one is quite sure who adorns it, the decorations change with the seasons and the tree has become a beloved local landmark. Is one person responsible or can anyone decorate the tree, much like the old boat on Folly Beach? Please comment below if you have more info!

Edisto Island Mystery Tree

Yvonne Price of Ladson, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

By the way, if you continue further down the road towards the beach, you will come across another mysterious tree. On your right stands a large old oak with a unique swing hanging from its boughs. The swing is made from a stack of old mattresses. As one mattress disintegrates, a new one is added on top of it.

Edisto Island Mystery Tree

Marty Peterson of Green Mountain, NC, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The South Carolina Picture Project values our state’s special trees. Learn more about South Carolina trees here.

Reflections on the Edisto Island Mystery Tree


Contributor Charleen Mason describes his photo below: “The Mystery Tree is decked out for football season. Footballs and pom poms galore! The tin plate-like thing in the middle says ‘Ohio State,’ and there is also a golf tee and ball at the top.”

Mystery Tree

Charleen Mason of Batesburg, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Rusty Williams describes his summertime shot, shown below, as follows, “This picture shows the summer theme which includes an American flag, buckets for playing in the sand, and a beach chair.”

Mystery Tree Edisto Island

Rusty Williamson of North Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Contributor Brandon Coffey sums up Sue Johns’s photo of the Edisto Mystery Tree like this: “Located across the entrance to Botany Bay Road off of Highway 174, this curious tree stands from the marsh dripping in decorations depending on the season. Seen here with hearts, I can imagine it was near Valentine’s Day, but come any other time of year and the display will always be different and equally interesting. This quirky local landmark has become beloved over the years but remains a mystery as most are not sure who adorns the trees with festivity! I love the mystery.”

Mystery Tree Valentines

Sue Johnson of Mount Pleasant, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Add your own reflections here.


Edisto Mystery Tree Info


Address: South Carolina Highway 174 and Botany Bay Road, Edisto Island, SC 29438
GPS Coordinates: 32.550871,-80.280356


Edisto Mystery Tree Map





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2 Comments about Edisto Mystery Tree

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 4th, 2017 at 11:55 am

We have seen the same article and slavery was indeed inhumane and cruel, but we have never seen this explanation mentioned elsewhere, and the article wasn’t supported by historical facts. We would love to expand this further if sources could be shown to explain where this information comes from.

Byron GasqueNo Gravatar says:
October 3rd, 2017 at 7:37 pm

From an article I read a while back. The original tree was constructed by former slaves of the plantation where Botany bay now stands. Slaves where bought here as a first stop and were beaten and tortured into conformity by a cruel master. Later when he died and slavery abolished the remaining freemen and their families feared the ghost of the cruel plantation owners would haunt them so they constructed this and other trees like it to capture the evil spirits.




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