During the annual flooding season, which peaks in October, farmers in Long An Province harvest water lilies in their fields all day.
An old woman rows into a flooded field in Kien Tuong Commune to harvest water lilies.
The flowers, which blossom during the rainy season, are used for decoration and to make tea. Their stalks are edible and can be eaten raw with fermented paste or braised sauce, or dunked into sour soup and hotpot.
At this time of the year it’s a common sight to see farmers busily harvesting the flowers.
The water lily season in the Mekong Delta lasts from early September to mid-November. Along with other aquatic resources, water lilies also help people earn an additional income and improve their lives during the flood season.
Mainly red-purple and white, the water lilies captivate tourists. The white water lilies are called ‘ghost flowers’ because they only bloom at night.
Women wearing conical hats row their boats along a pond to harvest the flowers. The sight is impossible to resist for photography enthusiasts. Photographers flock to ponds, canals and flooded fields to hunt for photos.
Water lilies are wild plants and do not need planting or caring. During the rainy season, when the canals and rice fields overflow, white and pink water-lilies are in full bloom.
Unlike in central Vietnam, where floods often result in destruction, the flooding in the Mekong Delta is seen as a gift from heaven that brings fish into the paddy fields along with alluvial deposits to fertilize the next crop. It usually lasts from July to November-end.
The Mekong River Commission said the annual flooding this year began only in the middle of October, due mostly to a number of upstream dams built in the river, which runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Women clean water lilies before delivering them to a local market.
After the water lilies are cleaned of mud and tied into bundles, they are loaded on boats to be delivered to markets and restaurants.
Photos by Vu Tuong Chieu