Have you ever had a lychee or even heard of this fruit? Lychees are well-known in Southeast Asia, and their cultivation has expanded across the West Indies (India) and other Asian bordering nations.
Lychees are tiny round fruits with rough exterior and fragrant sweet flesh. The big stone, or lychee seeds, are also present in the fruit. Lychees are endemic to the regions of Guangdong and Fujian in southeastern China. They come from a tropical tree and are the sole member of the Sapindaceae soapberry family’s Litchi genus.
Are Lychees Beneficial to Your Health?
Lychees, when consumed on a regular basis, may aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels in the body. Unripe lychees, on the other hand, have been shown to have toxins that cause unusually low blood sugar levels. A sudden drop in blood sugar level while sleeping may be deadly.
However, as long as you consume lychees on a regular basis and just completely ripe fruits, you should be OK. Lychee has a variety of beneficial minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Potassium, copper, vitamin C, epicatechin, and rutin are among the nutrients present.
Types of Lychees
Different lychee cultivars have been cultivated in many areas of the globe, ranging from India to South Africa to Florida, USA. Lychee cultivars are being developed, and new lychee types with distinct features are being developed.
Lychees may be grown in a variety of ways, and many varieties are currently farmed on farms. Though lychee fruits are frequently likened to rambutans because of the texture of their flesh, lychee fruits are smaller and have a different flavour than rambutans. Let’s take a look at the many kinds of lychee by reading the following information.
Lychee Hak Ip (Ha Kip)
Hak ip lychees, also known as Ha Kip lychees, are big red fruits with tiny seeds that resemble a chicken tongue. They’re made by lychee trees with thickly branching branches and big, pointy leaves. Hak ip is one of the most widely available lychee kinds in your local stores.
Aside from its enormous size, hak ip is prized for its delicious flavour. The fruits typically mature between May and July. Lychee farmers in certain areas of South Florida are actively cultivating this kind of lychee because its lychee trees yield more fruit than other types.
The vivid red peel and big chicken tongue seed of this original lychee cultivar helped it acquire popularity. The availability of Bengal lychees is also restricted due to strong demand and low production from December to January.
In comparison to India, the cultivation of these lychee cultivars is more common in the South African and Australian areas. Bengal lychee trees are also renowned for their erratic growth habits. The fruits produced by the so-called strange lychee trees, on the other hand, are very delicious.
Brewster lychee trees are well-known for their usage in residential and commercial landscapes. However, this tropical or subtropical fruit tree is more than simply an attractive plant with a consistent ability to fruit and bloom. Rev. William N. Brewster brought this kind to the United States from China.
Brewster Lychee fruits feature a purple-red outer skin/shell and transparent flesh, along with a bit of sweet-tangy flavor that is comparable to grape texture. Brewster may be eaten right from the tree, or the flesh can be separated from the seeds and used to make a wonderful lychee juice drink.
They may also be dried or dehydrated into a Lychee fruit, which has a naturally sweet taste and is a nutritious snack option. Vitamin B, Vitamin C, phytonutrient flavonoids, manganese, antioxidants, magnesium, iron, folate, and copper are all found in abundance in Brewster lychee.
Cliff Lychees (Sweet Cliff Lychees)
The tiny fruit with a pink and pebbly outer skin/shell is produced by Sweet Cliff lychee plants. Although the fruits of sweet cliff types are frequently of high quality, their cultivation has been restricted owing to the superiority of other lychee kinds.
If you happen to come across these lychee kinds in the market, sweet cliffs have a very tiny fruit and are the smallest of the lychee varieties. The delicious pinkish flesh is covered with a pebble skin.
The emperor lychee grows into a lovely tropical dwarf tree. In the botanical world, this lychee is known as Litchi chinensis ‘Emperor,’ and it is larger than other lychee types. These kinds of emperor lychees may be found in South Florida, although other cultivars can also be found in other areas of the globe.
Emperor not only produces the biggest lychee fruit, but it also has a delicious sweet taste. Lychee farmers are excited to cultivate this type, but an emperor lychee tree may take up to four years to completely develop and provide a decent crop.
Kaimana lychees are among the best lychee kinds. It was created in the 1970s from a Haak Yip lychee seedling selection. The kaimana lychee tree has a bigger fruit set than the other varieties. These lychee fruits have a longer shelf life as well.
The heart-shaped kaimana lychee fruit is grown in various subtropical regions throughout the globe, including Hawaii. Because the fruits are only picked once a year, Kaimana lychee trees produce a restricted amount of lychees (from May to June only).
No Mai Tsze
Among the many kinds of lychees available today, this lychee is said to have the finest flavor. The flesh of the No Mai Tsze lychee fruit is extremely sweet, with a crunchy texture and tiny seeds. When compared to other lychee types, this one is also smaller.
Lychee farmers are concerned about cultivating the no mai tsze types since their lychee trees develop in an uneven manner, posing a danger to fruit output.
Mauritius is one of the most prevalent lychee types, with a medium-sized lychee fruit. The tough, pebbly skin has a reddish tinge to it and peels easily. The white, delectable flesh has a strong fragrant fragrance and is sweet and juicy.
Mauritius lychees are well-known in parts of South Africa, and some lychee farmers in Florida consider them a favorite type.
Sweet heart lychee trees are the most popular among lychee farmers, and they yield some of the best lychee fruits. Because it produces a large number of lychee fruits, this variety is one of the most reliable when it comes to harvest output.
Sweetheart lychee fruit is likewise heart-shaped, and farmers prefer it to other kinds because of its higher juiciness. Sweetheart lychee and Mauritius lychee have similar production quality and harvest seasons.
Is it possible to grow lychee from seed?
The good news is that lychee seed germination is quite consistent. The bad news is that it’s unlikely that you’ll ever receive a lychee fruit from it. The lychee fruit you purchase in the supermarket is often hybridized, and the chances of the resultant tree matching its parent are little to none. Also, the trees take a long time to develop, and your seedling may take up to 20 years to bear fruit, if it ever does. To put it another way, if you want a fruit-bearing tree soon, you should get one from a nursery. But it’s a different thing if you simply want to sow a seed for the sake of it.
From Seed to Fruit: Lychee
The ideal time to propagate lychee seeds is when the fruit is fully ripe. Choose a number of plump, red, and aromatic lychees. Remove the solitary seed from the flesh of your apple after peeling it. The seed should be big, spherical, and smooth. Seeds that are oblong and shriveled are usually not viable and should not be sown.
Lychee seeds dry up quickly and lose viability, therefore they should be planted as soon as possible. Sow a single seed at a depth of 1 inch in a 6-inch (15-cm) container filled with wet, rich growth media (2.5 cm.). Maintain a wet and warm environment in the pot (between 75 and 90 F., or 24 and 32 C.). Lychee seed germination takes anywhere from one to four weeks. Move the seedling to a location that gets partial sunlight after it has emerged. The plant will develop rapidly during the first year, reaching a height of 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 cm). However, growth will decrease after that. Transfer it to a bigger pot and wait a couple of years for it to start growing again.
Interesting Facts Regarding Lychees:
- Lychee is a medium-sized tree that may reach a height of 40 to 50 feet.
- Lychees have a slender trunk with smooth, grey or black bark and low, brownish-red branches.
- The leaves of the lychee are evergreen, glossy, leathery, and green, with 2 to 4 thin leaflets grouped in pairs.
- The male and female flowers (monoecious plant) are grouped together in lengthy terminal clusters (panicles) of up to 3.000 blooms. They come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, and white.
- Lychee flowers in the northern hemisphere from November to February, and in the southern hemisphere from April to August. Flowers are aromatic and attract bees, who are the plant’s primary pollinators.
- The fruit has roundish, pointy protuberances and resembles a rough strawberry. Lychee is a drupe in botanical terms. Fruit is grouped together in thick clusters (of 3 to 50). After pollination, the lychee takes 100 to 120 days to mature.
- Lychees have a rough skin that may be pink or reddish-brown in hue. The flesh is succulent, white, and transparent, making it suitable for consumption. Each fruit has a single big, gleaming brown seed.
- Dietary fibers, vitamins C, B1, B3, B9, and minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are abundant in lychee. Fruit has 66 calories per 100g.
- Lychee has a flowery fragrance and a sweet flavor that tastes like a cross between grape and pear. The texture of flesh is comparable to that of grapes.
- Lychee may be eaten raw in fruit salads or used to make ice creams, juices, jellies, jams, syrups, and a variety of pleasant drinks and teas. Dried and canned lychee are also available.
- Toxic chemicals in the seed may cause unpleasant side effects in the digestive tract if consumed.
To wrap things up, this article was an attempt to compile a wealth of information regarding lychees and put it together in one place so that lychee lovers and enthusiasts can find it easy to enhance their knowledge about the different types of the fruit.