Ohio’s Most Perfect Tree

In Pike County there stands a tree that is so perfect that it has been claimed to have been featured on Ripley’s Believe it or not. After that, it was rumored to be the world’s most perfect tree. It may not be the world’s most perfect tree anymore, but it is known as Ohio’s most perfect tree now. 

It has no official recognition, but people in the Pike County area describe this 200-year-old tree as the most perfect in the state. What makes it so perfect? “The shape,” John Samson, the owner of the tree for the majority of his life, says. 

The giant tree’s knotty trunk and uniform branches stand out prominently. Spring and summer bring out the best of the tree when leaves cover the branches and make it full according to Samson.  

Although it is unknown who first dubbed this tree Ohio’s most perfect, Samson says his parents recalled learning about it in their textbooks. 

The tree grows on land originally owned by John and Emily Samson, but the couple donated the tree and land to the Arc of Appalachia, a nonprofit land conservation organization, in 2005.  

The Samsons didn’t have anyone to pass the land on to, and they didn’t want the tree to be cut down. The 76 acres given by the couple was named Samson Woods, which is where Ohio’s most perfect tree stands today.  

Samson passed the tree and his land so that Ohio’s most perfect tree could live on in good care.  


Southeast Ohio strives to spotlight the culture and community within our 21-county region and aims to inform, entertain and inspire readers with stories that hit close to home. Southeast Ohio is the first student-produced regional magazine in the country. Every semester, approximately 25 students enrolled in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism produce an issue of the magazine, which is published in print twice a year. The staff generates story ideas, conducts interviews, writes stories and designs the magazine in only 15 weeks. The magazine has won several Regional Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.