Central Vietnam presents uncommon beauty of common water hyacinth

Summer’s a time when millions of common water hyacinth flowers bloom in Quang Nam Province, their beauty a sight for sore eyes.

An aerial view of the hyacinth beginning to bloom in water body between a village road and rice fields and vegetable gardens

This collection of photographs, called the “Hyacinth Flower Season,” were taken by Tran Minh Tri and Le Quang Tho in Van Quat Village, Duy Thanh Commune, Duy Xuyen District.

A kite being flown from a harvested rice field nearby soars above a vast area of water hyacinths in bloom bordered by two rural roads.

The water hyacinth, a free-floating plant, has broad, thick, glossy leaves and is capable of rising as much as a meter above the water surface. It has an erect stalk with 8–15 beautiful lavender to pink flowers.

It breeds very fast and covers large water surfaces in quick time, creating a breathtaking sight. However, this plant has also become controversial as an invasive species that clog lakes and canals.

A close up shot of a water hyacinth flower emphasizes its extraordinary beauty with a pink fringed blue and yellow heart.

View of the water hyacinth lagoon from above. Their blooming season is associated with the daily routine of the villagers.

A rural road bisects two dense fields of the water hyacinth that have formed a carpet of dark green and purple.

A woman with a conical hat rides her bicycle on the road bordered by the water hyacinth carpet.

Two children cycle past a big stretch of water hyacinths in bloom. This time normally they would have been going to school and looking forward to the summer vacation. Schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For residents in rural Vietnam, the water hyacinth has several uses. It is used as food for cattle and for composting. Dried hyacinth fiber can be braided into ropes and woven into mats and other handicraft products. As food for humans, young hyacinth leaves can be cooked with crab to make soup and the flowers used to make dipping sauce.