They have witnessed plague, natural disaster and the end of British rule. Now, almost four centuries after they were planted, a grove of Baobab trees in the commercial area of SEEPZ in Andheri could be a part of the heritage list along with other gothic and colonial structures.
"The trees were planted in the early 18th century by the Portuguese troops. While initially they were a part of Kondivita village, a plague that struck in 1870 led to large-scale displacement of locals," said environmentalist Biju Augustine who has submitted a proposal to include the unique trees in the list.
"But the trees survived, and continue to flower and bear fruit even today."
While the final decision will be taken after the public hearing to be organised after the September 30 deadline, officials from the heritage committee said they will consider the suggestion.
"The proposed list has included several forms of natural heritage features such as open grounds, lakes and hills. Century-old trees with some unique characteristic and value should be protected," said V Ranganathan, chairperson, Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).
Avinash Kubal, deputy director, Maharashtra Nature Park, said: "Baobabs are exotic flora of African origin. Even if the trees are granted heritage status, care should be taken that they are provided special attention in terms of care and protection." Baobabs can live for more than 3,000 years and grow to a height of up to 98 feet.