Thursday, July 7, 2011


The lychee (Litchi chinensis, and commonly called leechi, litchi, laichi, lichu, lizhi) is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to China, related to longan, akee, and rambutan. It is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The fresh fruit has a "delicate, whitish pulp" with a "perfume" flavor that is lost in canning, so the fruit is mostly eaten fresh.

Lychees made their way to the continental United States around the turn of the 20th century when Rev. W. M. Brewster imported young lychee trees to Florida. Today the majority of lychees is cultivated in South-East Asia. In the United States, they can be grown in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and California.

The Brewster lychee is very popular commercially because it bears fruits quite reliably. It can grow to be as tall as 25' to 50' with a spread of 15' to 25'. Their fruiting season begins in June and promptly ends at the beginning of July as these three trees can attest: no more fruits today! With lychee trees as huge as these, I am not sure how their fruits can be picked without elevated machinery. I'll try to remember and return here early June next year. Hopefully, they will fruit again then.

1 comment:

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