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Downtown Saigon becomes a wonderland as winged seeds float down from the sky

Thursday, May 13, 2021, 11:55 GMT+7
Downtown Saigon becomes a wonderland as winged seeds float down from the sky
Cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds on the grass in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) – winged seeds that twirl to the ground from treetops – blanketing downtown sidewalks is an annual reminder to Saigon residents that the weather is heating up and the rainy season is approaching.

Cho nau can be found along many streets across the city, but Pham Ngoc Thach, Le Quy Don, and Le Duan streets in District 1 and District 3 are home to the densest population of these beautiful trees.

Every April, these trees begin to grow seeds.

As the weather heats up at the beginning of May, the ‘wings’ attached to the seed turn brown and they spin to the ground like helicopter propellers.

The ‘wings’ on cho nau seeds allow them to gently twirl to the ground. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

The ‘wings’ on cho nau seeds allow them to gently twirl to the ground. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

As the seeds disperse en masse in the wind, the streets of Saigon, which is the old yet popular name of Ho Chi Minh City, appear to become a romantic wonderland.

“I have cho nau in my hometown, but not as many as here,” said Nguyen Thi Ngoc, a local pedestrian. 

“It is very relaxing to watch the seeds fall.

"It brings me back to my childhood.”

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tuyen takes a picture of cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds near Saigon Central Post Office in District 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tuyen takes a picture of cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds near the Saigon Central Post Office in District 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau trees along Vo Van Tan Street in District 3. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau trees along Vo Van Tan Street in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Fallen cho nau seeds on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Fallen cho nau seeds on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Two women throw cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds and watch them float down in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Two women throw cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds and watch them float down in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau seeds cover a sidewalk in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau seeds cover a sidewalk in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds on a tree on Saigon street. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau (Dipterocarpus retusus) seeds on a tree on a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

The ‘wings’ on cho nau seeds allow them to gently twirl to the ground. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

The ‘wings’ on cho nau seeds allow them to gently twirl to the ground. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A man takes a picture of a woman with cho nau seeds near the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in District 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A man takes a picture of a woman with cho nau seeds near the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in District 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau trees have been growing along Le Quy Don Street in District 3 for the past ten years. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Cho nau trees have been growing along Le Quy Don Street in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City for the past ten years. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Van Hoang, a security guard at a restaurant on Le Quy Don Street in District 3, sweeps cho nau seeds from the street. Photo:

Nguyen Van Hoang, a security guard at a restaurant on Le Quy Don Street in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City sweeps cho nau seeds from the street. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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