Two ancient banyans in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre were recognised as Heritage Tree on June 2 by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment.

The two banyans were located at Phuoc Tuy communal house in Phuoc Tuy commune, Ba Tri district. One of them, nicknamed “Mother banyan", has grown horizontally and has a canopy of up to 30m, while the other, called “Dad banyan”, grows vertically.

According to village elders, the trees were planted at around the same time when the Phuoc Tuy communal house was built, which was nearly 200 years ago.

This is the third tree in Ben Tre to get the accolade. A Bach Mai tree (scientific name Ochrocarpus siamensis) in Phu Hung commune was recognised in 2014.

In 2011, the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) launched a programme to conserve Vietnam Heritage Trees, aiming to select and honour the country’s heritage trees in a bid to conserve their gene sources, while raising public awareness of protecting the environment.

It also contributes to promoting the diversification and abundance of Vietnam’s flora as well as developing scientific research in the field.

To win the honour, the trees must be at least 200 years old in the case of wild trees, and at least 100 years for those planted. Moreover, the trees should be connected with the historical and cultural characteristics of the area where they grow.

Those which do not meet the aforesaid criteria yet have special values in science, history or culture, will also earn recognition.

The number of recognised Heritage Trees is currently around 970.-VNA