By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- The cultural heritage authority said Monday that it will look into whether to confer national monument status on a 500-year-old hackberry tree featured in a popular Netflix series.
The "Sodeok-dong hackberry tree," located in the country's southern city of Changwon, has gained public interest after appearing in the legal drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo."
The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said it plans to conduct an on-site investigation of the tree to review cultural value based on shape and age.
The tree, which appears in the series in a fictional village of Sodeok-dong, is located in a small village near Changwon, 398 kilometers south of Seoul, and was designated as a protected tree in 2015.
"We will conduct a review of the cultural value of the tree, including history and growth status, and consider whether to designate it as a natural monument," said a CHA official who asked not to be named.
A decision will be made within the next two to three months at the earliest, the CHA said.
The tree, estimated to be about 500 years old, is 16 meters high and has a depth of 6.8 meters, the agency said. The tree has a crown spread of 27 meters.
There are currently two hackberry trees designated as natural monuments -- Hwangmokgeun in Yecheon and hackberry of Sudong-ri in Gochang.
The TV series revolves around a lawyer named Woo Young-woo, who is brilliant and has an outstanding memory but lacks social skills and empathy due to being on the autism spectrum. As a rookie lawyer at a law firm, she attempts to practice law and win cases, facing prejudice against her and those on the spectrum.
In the episode, Woo won a case against developers and protected the tree to be designated as a natural monument.