Today: 4 Jan 2006
  Home | About us | Sitemap | Feedback | Help | Vietnamese

Science, Technology, Environment
New Technology & new products
ICT applications
Enviroment Research & Protection
Development News
Welcome to Vietnam
Business and Economic
Education - Training
International Cooperation
Social Development
Development Web sites
Ha Noi 14 - 18 oC
Hue 17 - 24 oC
Da Nang 20 - 26 oC
Ho Chi Minh 22 - 31 oC
  Enviroment Research & Protection

Ancient tree is the roots, shade of Tien Luc

Having thrived for more than six centuries in the northern Bac Giang Province, the Da Dai Vuong (King of Camphor Trees) tree is sacred not only to locals, as its rarity and historical value appeal to scientists as well. Chu Lan Huong reports.

Da Huong (wild camphor) tree stands in a large courtyard behind the village’s ancient Vien Son Communal House.

The shadow it casts covers the house. For hundreds of years, the tree has witnessed events, festivals, and the ups and downs of the village’s history.

On scorching hot summer days, locals gather under the tree, chatting, working and using its shadow. By evening the tree becomes a dating locale for the village’s youth.

The Da Huong tree has become a close friend to the people of the area.

"All children in Giua village are, and always have been, very close to the tree," Suu said. "As little boys and girls, we would climb the tree and catch birds or, sometimes, we would bore a small hole in the trunk and sip the sweet, fragrant, and slightly bitter sap."

"I don’t know how old the tree is, I just remember it was as high as it is now when I was a boy, and every day I climbed it to catch birds. The tree hasn’t changed much since then," Nguyen Van Suu, 80, the oldest member of his village, said.

The foot of tree is large enough for eight people to embrace it. It looms like a 10-storey building.

Presently locals don’t know how old the Da Huong ancient tree is. According to village records, the Da Huong tree (in Giua village, Tien Luc Commune, Lang Giang District of Bac Giang Province) got the title of Quoc Chua Do Moc Da Dai Vuong (King of Camphor Trees) from a king under the reign of Canh Hung (1740-1786).

Wherever villagers go they always keep the Da Huong tree in mind. For a long time, villagers have regarded the Da Huong tree as spiritual and close to the villagers’ lives, in times of good and bad.

Suu pointed to a hole in the tree trunk and said that in the French colonial period, French soldiers cut a limb from the tree to make crosses for churches in Bac Ninh Province, regardless of objections. The branch was one metre in diameter. It left a huge hole in the trunk, and it’s still visible today.

One year, French soldiers used the village, more accurately, the tree, for shooting practice, Suu said. Yet another wound it received from a mortar.

The tree has witnessed the village’s history. Elders said lightning has taken down many of the village’s other large trees, but magically the Da Huong tree has not succumbed to any natural, or unnatural, disaster.

How old is the tree?

Professor and Doctor Vu Quang Manh, from the Centre for Biodiversity Resources Education and Development under the Ha Noi National Pedagogic University, said the tree can be dated to the Dai Viet Su Luoc (Brief History of Dai Viet), one of the first written historical records of Viet Nam in the 14th century. The doctor is carrying out a preservation project for the tree.

In order of assert the historical and scientific value of the Da Huong tree, a joint investigation team was formed, including people from the Centre for Biodiversity Resources Education and Development, the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, the Institute of Biological Technology and the Institute of Forest Investigation and Planning. The team has conducted research since 2000.

The Da Huong tree is of the species of Camphor, scientific name: cinanmomum camphora. It is 30m tall and 2.59m thick, and has a circumference of 11m. All parts of the tree, from roots to branches, contain the essential oil of Camphor. The roots especially are full of the essential oil Safrol, which is valuable in producing cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, food and pesticides.

By taking a core sample of the tree, scientists dated the tree as being 645 years old.

"Now the scientists are arguing whether the Da Huong tree in Bac Giang Province is one of the two most ancient camphor trees in the world? The other one is in India," Manh said.

"We decided to extend the scope of our investigation, and we found two other trees in Lang Giang and Yen The communes of Bac Giang Province. But the two other trees are much younger than the Da Huong tree," Manh said.

The special thing, Manh said, is that so far in investigation reports of the flora composition of Viet Nam, there have been no ancient camphor trees in natural jungles.

So far, the origin of the Da Huong tree in Bac Giang is unknown.

Plan to save Da Huong

Presently the tree is in serious trouble with termites. The termites have left a noticeably large hole in the tree and the leaves have begun to fade yellow.

Researchers have studied the soil, environmental and ecological conditions of the tree and carried out a project to preserve the tree’s genes. They released geckos in the tree to

eat the termites instead of using chemicals that could be harmful.

Bac Giang Provincial and Lang Giang District authorities set up project worth more than VND2 billion (US$130,000) to save the Da Huong tree. The project includes providing anti-termite measures, building protection fences and restoring the nearby Vien Son Communal House, temples and pagodas .

"The Da Huong tree is one of the most ancient, valuable and rare trees in the world, so our task of protection is very important," Manh affirmed.

VNS - (12/04/2005)

Special website for Vietnamese farmer

Home  |   About us  |   Sitemap  |   Feedback  |   Help

Hits: 2408373 © Copyright 2003 Vietnam Development Gateway, All right Reserved, Legal & Privacy Notices.
E-mail:  —   Tel: 84-4-8532313