An American sycamore tree in Hannibal estimated to be over 300 years old has been named a state champion by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

MDC officials recently announced that an American sycamore that stands at the Mark Twain Cave Complex has been designated as a Missouri Champion Tree.

MDC Forester David Vance says the tree’s height, crown spread and trunk size are used to assign a point value to the tree used to determine the state champion.

The tree at the cave is 108 feet tall, with a 244 inch trunk circumference and 146 foot crown spread.

Vance says that his best guess is that the new state champion is 311 years old – give or take 50 years, making it entirely possible that it was standing when young Sam Clemens explored the cave that now bears his name.