A community of 220 very old “Shan tuyet” tea trees in the Vi Xuyen district of northernmost Ha Giang province, recently received the Vietnam Heritage Tree title.

The trees, aged between 100 and 300 years, were recognised by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE), reported the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper.

The recognition is said to be of importance in preserving the genetic resources of the renowned tea variety and popularising the product in domestic and foreign markets.

The district’s Cao Bo commune is home to nearly 1,000 hectares of Shan tuyet tea trees growing on high mountains.

In 2011, the Cao Bo tea was confirmed as meeting organic production regulations by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

More than 200 tonnes of local organic tea are exported to European countries and the US every year, considerably profiting local businesses and tea makers.

The programme to select and honour Vietnam’s heritage trees was launched in 2011 by the VACNE in a bid to conserve their genetic resources and raise public awareness of environmental protection.

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

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

The number of recognised heritage trees is currently around 970.-VNA