Water hyacinth is a fast growing free-floating plant that has become a problem in the Mekong Delta where it clogs waterways and chokes river life. That's the bad news. The good news is that the plant is being harvested to create weaved ornamental and functional products ranging from table mats and picnic hampers to sofas and chairs. Water hyacinth products have a naturally soft texture owing to the plant's spongy stem and a distinctive smell, like a cross between leather and a fine cigar. Make sure to visit one of HCMC's stores that sell water hyacinth products.
Water hyacinth is one of the world's fastest growing plants. If left uncontrolled water hyacinth will obstruct riverways and rob the water of oxygen, destroying fish stocks. Additionally, water hyacinth is a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. Fortunately, the plant can be harvested and made into decorative and functional items such as slippers, furniture, baskets, purses and serving trays. When in Saigon visit one of the many stores that sell items crafted from water hyacinth.