The Vietnam Association for the Conservation of Nature and the Environment has recently recognised 20 mango trees grown at the national historic site of Tu Quang pagoda in the central coastal province of Phu Yen as national heritage trees.

A ceremony was held on February 9 in the province to receive the honour.

The over 200-year-old mango trees were said to be planted by monk Dieu Nghiem in 1793. Several of them have a diameter of 1.2 metres.

The pagoda’s head monk Thich Dong Tien said their fruits have smooth yellow skin with a sweet favour which tastes delicious when ripe.

Legend has it that this fruit was once offered to Vietnamese royalty. It is considered one of four local specialities along with Xuan Dai oranges, Cung Son cassava and O Loan crab.

The local Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism plans to grow “Đá Trắng” mangos around the pagoda’s campus and several nearby localities with the aim of preserving this variety.

The Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) launched a programme to conserve Vietnam Heritage Trees in 2011. To be recognised as heritage trees, 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 historical and cultural characteristics of the area where they grow.

Nearly 500 trees have been named Vietnam Heritage Tree so far. /.