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Go to the forest to pick Gleditsia fera

QUANG TRI – Early morning in mid-December, Ho Van Chao, 25 years old, and his wife put a bag on their back, carrying rice water into the forest to find Gleditsia fera.

Chao and his wife (Truong village, Ta Puong, Huong Viet commune, Huong Hoa district) rode a motorbike to the edge of the forest, pushed the car into a thicket and then walked deep inside. Carrying tools include forest knives, work clothes, boots, gloves and lunch food. After about an hour, the two reached the first locust tree.

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Bodhi tree is a woody tree, 10-15 m high, of which about 2-3 m under the thorny tree. Each cluster has about 10 sharp spikes 5-10 cm long. Boiled water locust shampoo has the effect of smoothing hair, reducing breakage. In order to avoid thorns, Pan must find a nearby tree to climb up and then swing his body over the locust tree.

Go to the forest to pick Gleditsia fera
Ho Van Chao next to a locust tree full of thorns. Photo: Hoang Apple

The locust fruit grows in clusters at the top of the tree, so Wok has to cut a piece of bamboo about 5 m long to make a pole. Old, large, firm, dark green fruits are selected. There are clusters of fruit in the distance but the pole is short, he has to swing himself to a small branch, squirming at a height of 8-10 m. Below, Pan’s wife picked up a locust that had fallen among the bushes.

“Picking Gleditsia fera must go into the forest far away is very hard. The locust tree has many thorns, so it is easy to puncture limbs, not to mention climbing high once I almost slipped and fell,” said Pan.

After picking a tree, Chao and his wife had lunch and then continued to cross the forest to another location. At the end of the afternoon, the Gleditsia fera were full of two bags, about 100 kg, both removed the branches and leaves to lighten and then went home through the forest.

However, it is not always possible to get a locust when entering the forest. Many trees have been eaten by squirrels, so they are of little value, young fruits have not been picked, or have been harvested by others. Last year, Chao and his wife earned 4.2 million VND for the whole season of picking Gleditsia fera.($1=25,000 VND)

The pan swings on a tree nearly 10 m high, using a bamboo pole to pick the locust fruit. Photo: Hoang Apple

Ho Thi Heng, 29, often invites her neighbors to go to the forest to pick Gleditsia fera. At first, Heng looked for locust trees around the fields, later he went further and further. Last year, she went to collect for the first time, at the end of the season, most of the fruit fell, so the yield was low, only 100 kg of dried fruit. Heng said that this year, he will harvest 5 times more.

Not only young people, 60-year-old Mrs. Ho Thi Hong also went to the forest to find Gleditsia fera. Unable to climb and pick by herself, she found the tree and returned to the village to ask the young people to help, paying 150,000-200,000 VND depending on the output. One day, she found a large locust tree and asked someone to pick 70 kg of fresh.

“Mother is old, and has some precious money, to buy more warm blankets to cover the winter,” said Mrs. Hong while holding a stack of money from selling Gleditsia fera.

Ho Thi Heng (left) is drying freshly picked Gleditsia fera. Photo: Hoang Apple

Picked Gleditsia fera must be dried for 5 to 10 days. 50 kg of fresh locust for 20 kg of dry, selling at 80,000 VND/kg. A representative of a business that buys Gleditsia fera said that this year’s output is expected to reach 3-5 tons of dried fruit, bringing about 400 million VND to more than 100 households in Trang – Ta Puong village. In 2021, due to late purchases, people could not pick it up in time, so they could only get one ton of dried fruit.($1=25,000 VND)

Although not a regular source of income, picking Gleditsia fera brings joy to people because they have more money to buy clothes, school bags for their children and buy some supplies to prepare for Tet.

Mr. Bui Cong Thua, forest ranger in Huong Lap commune, said that during a preliminary survey, this area has 180 locust trees, distributed in limestone mountains. In which, about 50 large trees, 30-40 cm in diameter, yield 200 kg of dry seeds per crop. The three-year-old locust will give fortune-telling, flower in the summer, and collect it at the end of the lunar year.

Since Gleditsia fera are purchased, forest rangers, authorities and people protect them for long-term harvesting. With more income, people reduce forest encroachment, do not destroy forests for cultivation. “This is an opportunity to plant and develop locust trees and create more livelihoods,” said Mr. Thua.

Photo: Internet (

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