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.
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.
Chinese cherry, Leechee, Lichee, Litchi, Lychee
Dimocarpus lichi, Litchi chinensias var. euspontanea, Litchi sinensis, Nephelium chinense, Nephelium litchi, Nephelium lit-chi, Scytalia chinensis
Litchi: from the Manadrin word lìzhī
Chinensis: Latin for from China
Southern China, Malaysia, Vietnam
Lowland rainforest, up to 800 m altitude
USDA zones 10-11, resists to brief light frost
Well drained and humiferous soil, preferably clay loam
Water daily during growing season
Provide high hygrometry
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)
Seed, cuttings, layering
When propagated from seed, will come to fruition after 10-25 years and will not have the same characteristics as parents.
- 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