The treasure hidden on Ngoc Linh Mount
VietNamNet Bridge - Xe Dang and Ca Dong ethnic minorities who live on Ngoc Linh mountain call a wild ripe fruit ‘hat lua’ or ‘fire grain’, the seed of a medicinal plant called K5 ginseng, or Ngoc Linh ginseng.


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From June, when Ngoc Linh plants begin blooming and bearing fruit to September, when fruit gets ripe, the Xe Dang and Mo Nong people harvest hat lua. The hat lua is also called ‘gold and silver bead’, because it is as expensive as gold. 

Nguyen Thi Hong Thuong, a ginseng trader in Nam Tra My district, explained that now is the time for people to collect seeds and they are not selling. 

“They will only pick the trees which cannot bloom, or the trees which give little bloom,” she said.

She said she did not know why there were so many sales on the internet.  “I think these are counterfeit ginseng.”

Xe Dang and Ca Dong ethnic minorities who live on Ngoc Linh mountain call a wild ripe fruit ‘hat lua’ or ‘fire grain’, the seed of a medicinal plant called K5 ginseng, or Ngoc Linh ginseng.

Thuong went on to say that she failed to deliver products to fulfill orders because people don’t sell ginseng during the fruit bearing season. “They would rather take care of strong trees to get seeds, because seeds can be sold for better prices,” she said.

According to Ho Quang Buu, chair of Nam Tra My district of Quang Nam province, each ginseng tree can bring 30-40 seeds, so 30 trees can produce 1,000 seeds, which were sold for VND40 million two years ago. Now, each seed is priced at VND100,000.

People can earn VND3-4 million from seeds alone for every 5-6-year old ginseng tree. It is more profitable to sell ginseng seeds than to sell ginseng bulbs.

Ginseng leaves are also a valuable product. In the Ngoc Linh ginseng homeland, every kilo of Ngoc Linh ginseng dried leaves can be sold for VND15 million.

Ngoc Linh ginseng traders like Thuong or the owners of ginseng gardens like Ho Van Du and Ho Van Hinh all affirmed that though Ngoc Linh ginseng goes for good price now, sold at VND100 million per kilo, farmers won’t pick up trees for sale. They would rather retain trees, because the older the trees get, the more valuable they will be.

Growing Ngoc Linh ginseng is the major job of Tra Linh’s people. Over 80 percent of locals grow the valuable tree in their gardens. Buu said a VND9 trillion project on developing Ngoc Linh ginseng is being implemented in the locality.


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Vu Trung

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