Trees thousands of years old – treasures beyond price
No measure of money can be exchanged for the mark of time. These trees, with a lifetime of over 1,000 years, are associated with national culture and history.
Apitong tree dates back to Hung Kings
Vietnam’s oldest tree has been carefully taken care of by authorities.
Topping the list of longevity is the apitong tree, which holds the record for the oldest tree in Vietnam and is related to the sacred tale of Thien Co temple (Trung Vuong commune, Viet Tri city, Phu Tho province).
According to scientists, the tree is more than 2,100 years old. Legend has it that the temple is located on the capital land of the ancient Van Lang country. This apitong tree, over the two millennia, has been a witness to the natural and social history of the locality with invaluable cultural and spiritual values.
It was recognized as a Heritage Tree by Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) on May 28, 2012.
Thien Co temple worships the wedded couple, teacher Vu The Lang and Nguyen Thi Thuc, who raised Princesses Tien Dung and Ngoc Hoa, the offspring of 18th Hung Vuong King, as noted in ancient book entitled “Ngoc Pha Hung Vuong”. The pair was buried by the locals in the village, the temple was later built, and the tree was planted alongside at from that time.
This is the oldest tree in Vietnam.
The largest Cinnamomum camphora nationwide
This tree was named a Vietnamese Heritage Tree on November 26, 2013.
Giua villagers (Tien Luc commune, Lang Giang district, Bac Giang province) take great pride in the 1000-year-old Camphor tree which has a diameter of 2.59 meters, and is almost 30 meters high.
Essential oils are present in all parts of the plant, making it an exceedingly rare breed. In addition, the tree roots contains safrol which is a valuable ingredient in food processing and cosmetic technology. This massive tree is recognized as one of the two largest Cinnamomum camphoras on the globe.
According to historians, the tree was considered by King Le Canh Hung as the nationwide largest camphorwood. It was named in the French Larausse encyclopedia, and ranked as a rare and precious tree in Vietnam by the French school of the Far East (now the National Museum of Vietnamese History). Photos of this tree were displayed at the fair in Marseille (France) in 1932.
Thousand-year-old Diospyros decandra tree
Situated at the shrine worshipping Duc Thanh Tan Vien, the thousand-year-old tree has been known as the guardian of the people in Di Nau commune, Tam Nong district, Phu Tho province.
The tree has a diameter of about 2.45 meters, a total height of virtually 18.45 meters. Time has left its 7.96 meter circumference stump markedly rough. It could fit in an embrace of 5 humans. On May 22, 2012, this Diospyros decandra tree was recognized as a Vietnam Heritage Tree.
Rumor has it that ‘the guardian’ was from the reign of King Dinh Bo Linh (970 - 979). When the temple was built to worship Duc Thanh Tan Vien (258 BC) and the great generals of the 18th Hung King, villagers planted the tree not only for shade, but for guarding the shrine, as a spiritual belief.
The guardian majestically stands in front of the shrine
The ancient ‘Buddha's hand’
The Streblus asper over a thousand years of age is located in Thung Nham bird garden tourist area (Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province). The tree shaped like "Buddha's hand" carries has historical values associated with King Dinh Tien Hoang.
It is said that King Dinh Tien Hoang, whilst patrolling Hoa Lu capital, sent soldiers to plant this tree on a rock in Thung Nham. The tree has a quirky shape. The main trunk and three branches grow vertically alongside one another and one other branch is oblique and tilted in a different direction, quite similar to Buddhist Mudras.
Experts assess that this Streblus asper tree is 1,000 years old, yet magically remains verdant…on a rock.
Trees in folklore are believed to bring luck and fortune
The lonely tree
It looks like a forlorn figure standing in the fields of Binh Minh commune (Thanh Oai district, Hanoi). The old tree belonging to Cashew family is shady, playfully dubbed as a "lonely tree". It is shaped like an umbrella spreading out from afar.
The tree is estimated to be over 1000 years old and is about 15 meters in diameter with a stump of about 8 meters in circumference taking a 5-7 humans to embrace.
It is also called the yin-yang by the locals since it possesses feng-shui characteristics. The lonely tree biennially fruits in December in the lunar calendar.
The year, the Eastern half of the tree sprouts beautifully young buds and verdant leaves, while the western half will in contrast produce fewer buds and thin pale-yellow leaves, and vice versa the next year.
Legend has it that the tree was planted by Ambassador Do Canh Thac, Dinh Bo Linh's time as a landmark boundary between Binh Da village and Sinh Qua village, Binh Minh commune. Over a millennium has passed and the old tree is still as leafy and a witness to the history of the people in the village.
The ancient bosky tree was recognized as a Vietnamese Heritage Tree in 2016
A man in HCM City has earned good money from buffalo-shaped bonsai trees for the coming Lunar New Year or Tet.
In the eyes of some Hanoians, the city’s green trees partly contribute to the identity of the capital.