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Litchi

Litchi chinensis

Lychee (Eng.), Lietsjie (Afr.)

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Litchi trees are tall attractive evergreen trees with dark glossy leaves. The Litchi 'Mauritius' is a popular cultivar and a must for every edible landscape. It forms a handsome, dark green, rounded canopy of evergreen leaves, as well as produce small brown to red fruits with a rough skin and aromatic white flesh. This fruit, which is enjoyed by most people, is easily peeled to reveal a sweet and juicy interior surrounding a large, glossy, brown seed. Litchi 'Mauritius' is the most dominant variety grown in South Africa. Litchis are used mainly in culinary applications as well as sometimes being planted ornamentally.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Litchis are harvested during summer with the season peaking during midsummer. Litchis are ripe when the fruit attains a weight of about 20 - 25g. It is picked by hand.

Propagation

Seed
Seed does not store well. Sow as soon as possible and take note that seedling trees may take 10 or more years to bear fruit!
Layering
Air-layering is the preferred way of propagation and applied during Spring-time. Rooted cuttings cut off in mid to late Summer. Optimum root growth of the air-layer is obtained in the summer months.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Attracts bees while in flower.
Pot plant
Trees grow very well in containers as long as you provide an adequate size pot for root development. Select a pot 55cm in diameter and 50cm inches in height, with adequate drain holes.
Attracts birds
The delicious fruit also attracts monkeys and fruit-loving bats.

Geography

Origin
Indigenous to the subtropical South of China and Malaysia.
Natural climate
Cool sub-tropical, humid areas.

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Edible
The fruits are eaten raw, processed into fruit juice & may be added to fruit salads. They are also canned, dried whole (litchi nuts), added to various dishes or used to make a scented liqueur.
Notes
Culinary

Personality

Family
Sapindacea
Flower colour
Yellow
Scent
None

Problems

Fruitflies are a pest which causes the fruit to crack after being stung or to be attacked by fungi, which will cause the fruit to rot on the tree or after harvesting. Another pest is the litchi moth which lays its eggs on the skin of the fruit during the development phase. Leaf spots are caused by Botryodiplodia theobromae and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and lichens and algae frequently grow on the trunks and branches.
Mediterranean fruit fly
Mediterranean fruit fly
Ceratitis capitata

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