Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too Tall

The lychee (Litchi chinensis) is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. I have seen many lychee trees in Miami, but these three are by far the biggest and tallest of them all. Lychee trees normally are less than about 30 feet, but these are at least 45 feet or taller. Lychee fruits are well sought after. The fruits, when ripe, are beautiful on the trees and they are delicious to eat. Do you know that it was the favorite fruit of Emperor Li Longji (Xuanzong)'s favored concubine Yang Yuhuan (Yang Guifei?) The emperor spared no expense and had special courier service with fast horses to bring the fresh fruit from Guangdong where the trees grew wild. It's good to be a favored concubine of a big shot, don't you think? All the lychee you can eat!

In traditional Chinese medicine, lychee is known for being a fruit with "hot" properties, meaning if you eat too many, you will have high fever, thirst, concentrated urine, red face, red tongue, yellow tongue fur, rapid pulse among other nasties. May be that's why the emperor did not mind getting his favorite concubine these fruits. Hot is good!

But I digress... I am looking at the flowers on these trees and am trying to figure out how I can get the fruits come this summer. Time to befriend the people of the fire department with trucks equipped with tall ladders.

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