Hunan’s oldest tree, a two-and-a half millennium-old gingko, stands on Luohan Mountain in Mahuang Village, Nanqiao Town, Dong’an County. A national forestry authority survey states that it was planted by the ancient Yue people during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period about 2,500 years ago. It is now 25 meters tall, 3.84 meters in diameter, and has a 21-meter crown spread.
According to historical records, it was once over 60 meters in height. At the end of the Ming Dynasty it was struck by lightning and snapped in half at the waist. The top fell to 55 meters away from the trunk.
The Dong’an Forestry Authority has protection responsibilities, provides funds, and persons patrol the tree daily.
Villagers, by consensus, feel a collective responsibility for the tree. Anyone who damages the tree, or impacts its growth environment, will be fined.
Thanks to this protection, the tree has luxuriant foliage. When its leaves turn gold in late autumn it resembles a golden canopy.
The annual gingko fruit harvest can exceed 500 kg, the locals said. When harvest comes, all the villagers will hold celebrations and pick the fruits together.
Chinese source: hn.xinhuanet.com
Picture source: hn.xinhuanet.com