Lychee

Lychee

Litchi chinensis or lychee is an evergreen tree from China.

It has been grown in China for its edible fruit, also known as lychee, since 2,000 years BC.

Now it is grown around the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

Easily propagated from seed out of the fruits you buy.

Description:

Litchi chinensis is a tree is usually not higher than 10 m, sometimes 15 m. The trunk is black and gray, the branches are reddish brown. The leaves are green, 10-25 cm long.

The flowers grow in terminal panicles of new branches. The plumes contain hundreds of small white, yellow or green fragrant flowers.

The fruits are up to 5 cm long and 4 cm wide. The shape varies between spherical, oval and heart shaped. The rind is thin but tough, smooth or covered with small, hard spines. It is first green and then pink or red when ripe. The flesh is white and juicy and it surrounds a single large dark brown seed, up to 3.5 cm long and 1.2 cm wide.

The name lychee is derived from Mandarin word lìzhī.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Chinese cherry, Leechee, Lichee, Litchi, Lychee

Synonyms:

Dimocarpus lichi, Litchi chinensias var. euspontanea, Litchi sinensis, Nephelium chinense, Nephelium litchi, Nephelium lit-chi, Scytalia chinensis

Etymology:

Litchi: from the Manadrin word lìzhī
Chinensis: Latin for from China

Litchi chinensis

Litchi chinensis

Origin:

Southern China, Malaysia, Vietnam

Habitat:

Lowland rainforest, up to 800 m altitude



Hardiness:

USDA zones 10-11, resists to brief light frost

Care:

Soil:

Well drained and humiferous soil, preferably clay loam

Exposure:

Sun

Water:

Water daily during growing season

Hygrometry:

Provide high hygrometry

Fertilizer:

Fertilize sparingly: lychee is a slow grower and requires little fertilization. Give a slow fertilizer 2 times a year (such as granules or solid fertilizer organic fertilizer but no liquid fertilizer)

Litchi chinensis tree

Litchi chinensis tree

Propagation:

Seed, cuttings, layering
When propagated from seed, will come to fruition after 10-25 years and will not have the same characteristics as parents.

Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds for 3 days in water at room temperature
  • sow in moist mix
  • pack in a plastic bag or container to keep humidity
  • room temperature
  • germination time: a few days to 1 month

Image sources

  • Lychee: Own work
  • Litchi chinensis: B.navez
  • Litchi chinensis tree: B.navez

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