Monday, July 21, 2008

Lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn)

A lychee is a rare sub tropical fruit originating in South China where the lychee is very important in their culture and is famed as "the King of Fruits".

The lychee fruit is about 1½ to 2 inches in size, oval to rounded heart shaped and the bumpy skin is red in color. Once you peel the skin off, the crisp juicy flesh of a lychee fruit is white or pinkish, translucent and glossy like the consistency of a grape, but the taste is sweeter. Lychees have a sub acid sweet taste and have a wonderful freshness to them that is hard to describe.

Lychee trees are beautiful hardwoods that can grow 20 to 40 feet tall in a primarily dome shaped habit of growth with dense, evergreen leaves. Lychee trees are popular landscape trees in South Florida and other areas of the southern U.S. and container, atrium or greenhouse growing of lychee trees is becoming popular throughout the rest of he country.
How do grow
Lychees require a warm subtropical to tropical climate that is cool but also frost-free or with only very slight winter frosts not below -4°C, and with high summer heat, rainfall, and humidity.
Lychees will not stand heavy frost especially when young. If well sheltered with a guard for the first two winters or until the tree is 1.5 M (five ft) high, it will then stand light frosts to -1 degrees. Growth is best on well-drained, slightly acidic soils rich in organic matter. Lychees have no drought tolerance whatsoever. They must be kept moist at all times. Whereas most trees will wilt when dry, then recover sometime after watering, the Lychee will not recover from a dry-out, but will drop its leaves and eventually die. Protect from frost and cold winds in winter until 2 metres high. They are also grown as an ornamental tree as well as for their fruit.
Maturity period 3-5 years to bear fruits, Mid-May to early July in Florida.

Nutrition Info
Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium, High in Vitamin C and Copper, Health benefit Maintaining optimum health and Weight loss