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Litchi chinensis Lychee Leci Sapindaceae
 

Lychee, Litchi chinensis, Leci

 
Lychee, Litchi chinensis, Leci

Litchi chinensis, Nephelium litchi
Family: Sapindaceae
Lychee, Lichee
Origin: China
big tree, full sun, regular water,  cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Slow growing, but reaching heights of 35'. It has attractive pinnate leaves of a shining leather texture. The fruit, when ripe, has dark red-brown and rough skin, is 1 to 2 inch long and grows in bunches. Under the brittle skin, the flesh is pearly white, sweet and jelly-like, though firm. It is eaten fresh or sun-dried (Litchi Nuts) or canned in syrup. It is a good source of vitamin C and phosphorous. Often called the best fruit in the world. You can't argue with three billion Asians. You've eaten these no doubt in Chinese restaurants, where they're served either within a dish (succulent and sweet) or dried (sweet and dry). Litchi has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years.

Lychee trees like regular watering; microelements applications are necessary to avoid chlorosis. For bearing-age trees, cut off all water and fertilizer by October. Stress caused by winter's drought and cold is believed to induce heavier bloom.

Propagated by airlayering. Growing from seed is not successful method as seedlings usually do not survive long, requiring special mico-components in soil. This is why grafting is not very popular method either as getting a vigorous healthy rootstock seedling is problematic.

An evergreen tree originating from China. Slow growing, but reaching heights of 35'. It has attractive pinnate leaves of a shining leather texture. The fruit, when ripe, has dark red-brown and rough skin, is 1 to 1" long and grows in bunches. Under the brittle skin, the flesh is pearly white, sweet and jelly-like, though firm. It is eaten fresh or sun-dried (Litchi Nuts) or canned in syrup. It is a good source of vitamin C and phosphorous. Propagated by airlayering or grafting. Origin: S. E. China. Best fruit in the world. You can't argue with three billion Asians. For bearing-age trees, cut off all water and fertilizer by October. Stress caused by winter's drought and cold is believed to induce heavier bloom.

Origin: The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in Southern China. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. It reached Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and was conveyed from Florida to California in 1897

Varieties: 24 varieties including: Bengal, Brewster, Emperor, Hak Ip, Kaimana, Kwai Mai Pink, Mauritius, No Mai Tze, Sweet Heart. Season: Mid May to Mid June

Adaptation: Lychees require seasonal temperature variations for best flowering and fruiting, Warm, humid summers are best for flowering and fruit development, and a certain amount of winter chilling is necessary for flower bud development. Most varieties need between 100 and 200 hours of standard chilling (32 - 45 F). Cool winters with low rainfall are ideal for lychees. The trees become more hardy as they age. Mature trees have survived temperatures as low as 25 F when fully hardened off. Young trees may be killed by a light frost. Lychees can be successfully grown in frost-free coastal areas of California. There are trees in San Diego, California that are over 90 years old with no sign of decline in sight. It first fruited in Santa Barbara in 1914. They can be grown for a short period in a large container.

Growth Habit: The lychee tree is handsome, dense, round-topped and slow-growing with smooth, gray, brittle trunk and limbs. Under ideal conditions they may reach 40 feet high, but they are usually much smaller The tree in full fruit is a stunning sight.
Foliage: The leathery, pinnate leaves are divided into four to eight leaflets. They are reddish when young, becoming shiny and bright green. Lychee trees have full foliage and branch to the ground.

Flowers: The tiny petalless, yellowish-green flowers are borne in in terminal clusters to 30 inches. Lychees are eye-catching in spring when the huge sprays of flowers adorn the tree. Flowering precedes fruit maturity by approximately 140 days.

Fruits: The fruit is covered by a leathery rind or pedicarp which is pink to strawberry-red in color and rough in texture. A greenish-yellow variety is not grown in California at present. Fruit shape is oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length. The edible portion or aril is white, translucent, firm and juicy. The flavor is sweet, fragrant and delicious. Inside the aril is a seed that varies considerably in size. The most desirable varieties contain atrophied seeds which are called "chicken tongue". They are very small, up to 1/2 inch in length. Larger seeds vary between 1/2 to 1 inch in length and are plumper than the chicken tongues. There is also a distinction between the lychee that leaks juice when the skin is broken and the "dry and clean" varieties which are more desirable. In some areas lychees tend to be alternate bearers. Fruit splitting is usually caused by fluctuating soil moisture levels.

     
Lychee, Litchi chinensis, Leci Lychee, Litchi chinensis, Leci Lychee, Litchi chinensis, Leci

 

  

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