Expensive “Mai” (apricot flower) trees are readily available for sale at Tet (Lunar New Year) flower markets in Ho Chi Minh City, with some costing as much as dozens of thousands of U.S. dollars.
With Tet around the corner, “Mai” trees, which are one of the commonest flowering trees to display around the home for the occasion, are currently in great demand in the city.
Prices fluctuate between VND500,000 (US$23.3) apiece and a whopping VND700 million ($32,620), depending on the trees’ size, age and number and quality of buds.
Tet begins on February 19 this year, with festive activity to linger for around one week after that.
A large, expensive "Mai" (apricot) tree is ready to be shipped to its new owner to display during Tet (Lunar New Year). Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper, Giang Kien Hoa, 66, who lives in the city’s outlying district of Thu Duc, owns three “Mai” trees aged between 80 and 100 years.
The trees boast large bases and gorgeous shapes, are laden with buds which promise astonishing flowers, and fetch around VND500 million each.
One of them costs VND650 million ($30,290).
Thanh Nien quoted Hoa, the owner of Sau Hoa Mai Shop, as saying that the tree measures roughly 1.37 meters in diameter and stands 5.5 meters tall.
It boasts incredible twists and healthy boughs and will yield large, awesome flowers.
The tree has had no human intervention whatsoever, Hoa assured.
The second tree, which is offered for VND550 million ($25,630), has no human intervention either.
The third one, which is estimated at VND600 million ($27,960), was shaped as an octopus’s tentacles by artisans since it was young.
A man is seen tending to his small-size tubs of "Mai" trees. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s observations, a “Mai” shop owner on Pham Van Dong Street in Thu Duc District offers a “Mai” tree for over VND700 million ($32,620).
The owner would not allow Tuoi Tre reporters to take photos of the tree, as it has received no purchase offers, though it has drawn quite a lot of attention from clients.
Large, medium-sized “Mai” trees in high demand
Flower shops throughout Ho Chi Minh City are brimming with tubs of “Mai” trees.
Large trees, which fetch more or less than VND100 million ($4,660) apiece, is currently the segment with the highest demand.
These grand "Mai" (apricot) tubs, which are worth around VND100 million ($4,660), are mostly purchased by local companies. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Shop owners said most of these trees are purchased by companies, which display them in a conspicuous place around their offices or premises.
Smaller “Mai” trees, which cost between VND500,000 and VND2 million ($93), are being shipped to clients from northern provinces.
Pham Van Dong, which stretches less than 1.5 kilometers, features over 10 “Mai” shops.
Nguyen Van Long, one of the shop owners, said the northern market has seen a slight increase compared to previous years.
Long said he has sold nearly 150 “Mai” tree tubs of different kinds in the past four days, with 100 tubs destined for Hanoi.
Within only 30 minutes, another “Mai” shop on the same street managed to sell two tubs for around VND100 million ($4,660) each, according to Tuoi Tre’s observation.
Men are seen loading a large, costly "Mai" tub onto a three-wheel vehicle for transport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A flowering "Mai" apricot tree. Photo: Tuoi Tre
$163,109 star fruit trees
As local newswire Dan Tri reported, Ba Hung, a Vietnamese artisan, has showcased his two gorgeous ornamental star fruit trees for a staggering total of VND7 billion ($163,109) at the ongoing Phu My Hung Tet Flower Festival.
The Tet flower festival, whose theme is “Harvesting Season,” is running from February 11 to 17, or from the 23rd to the 29th day of the 12th month of the current lunar year.
As in previous years, the flower festival’s venue is Phu My Hung’s Crescent Lake in District 7, which boasts a high concentration of expats.
Apart from marveling at the festival’s grain-laden paddy fields typical of the southern region and a 1,500m² field of lettuce flowers, which is all suggestive of a gorgeous sight in the northern provinces of Lao Cai and Ha Giang, festival goers are also held in awe by the two unbelievable star fruit trees.
The trees have huge bases but become smaller at the top and are laden with edible fruits.
The newswire quoted Hung as saying that the trees are aged between 350 and 700 years.
He added he had bought the two trees from a farm over 20 years ago and spent considerable time caring for and shaping them.
“The two trees are worth over VND7 billion in total, but they will become priceless in two years,” he said.
Hung also brought many of his unique ornamental trees to the Phu My Hung Flower Festival, including a “nguyet que” (laurel) tree which is offered for a whopping VND1.8 billion ($83,885).