A group of banyan trees with the oldest dating almost 600 years old in Thien Huong hamlet, Dong Van district in northern mountainous Ha Giang province was recognised as a national heritage on May 11.

The copse consists of more than ten trees, four of which are between 515 and 570 years old.

The Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) awarded the banyans the title in a bid to boost relevant preservation programmes.

According to Chairman of the Dong Van People’s Committee Hoang Van Thinh, the copse holds a special spiritual meaning to the community in addition to its ecological value.

The Tay, Mong, and Giay Ethnic groups in Thien Huong have long considered the trees their protective gods, building a shrine under its branches and establishing rules to guard the forest. In the New Year, locals bring offerings and have a ceremony praying for bumper crops, good health and happiness.

To date, the 2,000-square-kilometre Dong Van stone plateau, a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks since 2010, boasts 31 national and provincial heritages. The plateau is 80 percent limestone and contains fossils of thousands of prehistoric species that roamed the region 400-600 million years ago.-VNA