+ The Family Sapindaceae, also known as the Soapberry family, is a family of flowering plants in the order Sapindales. This family includes mostly trees and shrubs, but rarely herbs, widely distributed throughout the warm sub-tropics and tropics. The majority of species are native to Asia, although there are a few in South America, Africa and Australia. The Family Sapindaceae contains 4 subfamilies, with about 140 genera and 1900 species, including maple, horse chestnut, and lychee. + The Genus Litchi is a small genus of Family Sapidaceae, it contains only one Species Lychee (Litchi chinesis Sonn.). The Genus Litchi is native to the area between southern China, northern Viet Nam and Myanmar, but is now cultivated in many countries with sub-tropical climates. + The Species Lychee (Litchi chinensis) TheSpecies Lychee (Litchi chinensis) is the sole member of the Genus Litchi in the Soapberry Family (Sapindaceae). It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, and now cultivated in many parts of the world. The Species Litchi chinensis was described and named by French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat in his Voyage aux Indes orientales et à la Chine, fait depuis 1774 jusqu'à 1781(1782). There are three subspecies, determined by flower arrangement, twig thickness, fruit, and number of stamens. - - Litchi chinensis subsp. chinensis is the only commercialized lychee. It grows wild in southern China, northern Vietnam, and Cambodia. It has thin twigs, flowers typically have six stamens, fruit are smooth or with protuberances up to 2 mm (0.079 in). Many of the Malayan specimens belong to sub-species chinensis. - Litchi chinensis subsp. philippinensis (Radlk.) Leenh. It is common in the wild in the Philippines and rarely cultivated. It has thin twigs, six to seven stamens, long oval fruit with spiky protuberances up to 3 mm (0.12 in). Sub-species philippinensis is found in the Philippines (Luzon, Sibuyan, Samar and Mindanao) and Papua New Guinea at high elevation. - Litchi chinensis subsp. javensis. It is only known in cultivation, in Malaysia and Indonesia. It has thick twigs, flowers with seven to eleven stamens in sessile clusters, smooth fruit with protuberances up to 1 mm (0.039 in). Sub-species javensis is recorded in the Malay Peninsular and Indonesia. Sub-speciesjavensis is a rare specimen found in Chinese gardens in West Java and Indo-China and has fruit similar to cultivated lychee, but with a thinner aril. It is reported to flower and fruit regularly in the tropics.
1.3- Origin and distribution + Origin: The Genus Litchi is native to the area between southern China, northern Viet Nam and Myanmar, but is now cultivated in many countries with sub-tropical climates. The Species Lychee (Litchi chinensis) is the sole member of the Genus Litchi in the Soapberry Family (Sapindaceae). It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, and now cultivated in many parts of the world. + Distribution: The Lychee fruits are popular in Southern China, Northern Viet Nam. This region is one of the three main cradles of domestication and is the origin of several other important horticultural crops, including tea, members of the citrus group, longan and kiwifruit. Numerous wild lychee trees are found in moist forests in Hainan Island from low elevation up to 600 and 1,000 m, and below 500 m in hilly areas of the Leizhou Peninsular, west Guangdong and east Guangxi. Wild trees are one of the main species in several of these lowland rainforests, and may account for up to 50 percent of the virgin forest composition. Lychee is usually the dominant species in the upper layer of the forest. Wild trees can also be found in parts of the North of Viet Nam, although there are fewer pockets of natural rainforests than in China. Wild specimens are similar in general appearance to some cultivars grown in China and Viet Nam. The fruit are edible, but the flesh or aril is relatively thin and sour, and not commercial. The wild types evolved in two directions, the skin segments becoming protruded and long as in “Tai So” and “Kwai May”, or flattened as in “Sum Yee Hong”, “Souey Tung”, “No Mai Chee” and “Wai Chee”. Lychee has been taken to most of the tropical and sub-tropical world in the last 400 years. The fruit are very popular in China and South and Southeast Asia, but less well known in Africa, the Middle East and America. The commercialization of this species around the world has been slow due to the poor cropping of trees in many areas, as well as the short life of the seeds. Lychee reached India through Myanmar in 1789, and later on appeared in Bangladesh and Nepal. It has a long history of production in Thailand, but the exact date of its introduction has not been established. It probably arrived from China 150 years ago or perhaps earlier. There are no records of its introduction into the Philippines either, although there is mention of lychee in local literature early in the twentieth century. Seeds were sent to Australia in the 1850s, and marcots imported 70 years later. Thus, the oldest clonal trees are 80 years old. There are older seedling trees in many areas, some perhaps planted 100 years ago. They can carry heavy yields, but are often attacked by birds and other pests. As one of very common summer fruits, lychee fruits are known as one of the Four Southern Fruits, in which other three are along with banana, pineapple, and longan. Needless to say, nothing beats lychee when it comes to pleasing your taste buds. Nowadays, the top producers of Lychee fruits include Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Southern Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
2- Characteristics of Lychee trees and fruits
2.1- Description - The tree: The tree characteristics such as size, shape, spread of branches can change with weather, soil and culture. Lychee nut tree is an evergreen tree and it is reaching 10 to 20 m tall. The bark of this evergreen plant is grey black and the branches are brownish red. Panicle is acrogenous, wide, multi-branched. In some cultivars, the branches are crooked or twisting and spreading forming a crown broader than high, while in other cultivars, the branches are fairly straight and upright forming a compact, rounded crown. Lychee is a long-lived, evergreen tree up to 30 m tall in old specimens, with a short stocky trunk. - The Leaves: The leaves are alternative and compound, with two to five leaflets. The leaflets are oblong and 5 to 15 cm long. The new flushes are a distinctive red-brown when immature and light to dark green as they mature. Evenpinnate leaf is alternate. The length of leaves and handle is 10 to 25cm; leaflets are 2 or3 pairs and with 7 to 8cm long small petiole; blade is lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 6 to 15cm long, 2 to 4cm wide, glabrous, thinly leathery or leathery, and with abruptly acuminate or caudate-acuminate apex, and entire margin. - The Flowers: The flowers are small, yellowish-white, functionally male or female and apetalous. Functionally male flowers have six to ten stamens. There are usually two stages of male flowering overlapping with the female cycle: a true male flower first and then a functionally male flower that opens towards the end of the flowering period. The second male flower has a rudimentary bicarpellate pistil. This is absent in the first stage. Functionally female flowers have six to ten staminodes and a functional, bicarpellate pistil. The last stage of male flowering generally supplies most of the pollen used to fertilize the female flowers. Flowers grow on a terminal inflorescence with many panicles on the current season’s growth. Flowers bloom in spring, monoecious, small, and covered with short down. Its flowering time is from February to March and the fruit time is from June to July. The inflorescences are many branched panicles, each with one or more leaves and up to 3,000 flowers, and from 5 to 80 fruit at harvest. - The Fruits: The branches bears fleshy fruits which are up to 5cm long and 4cm wide. The fruits are highly variable, depending on the cultivar. They can be can round, nearly round, egg round, ellipse, heart or long heart shades in many different cultivars. Fruit is nearly spherical and looks like drupe. The skin can be smooth or rough with distinct protuberances, thick or thin, and pink-red, bright red or purple-red. Fruit are very attractive, with bright red skin covered by angular or conical protuberances. The fruit has a roughly textured rind which is inedible but it can be easily removed in order to expose a layer of sweet and translucent white flesh. The flesh or aril is an outgrowth of the outer cells of the seed coat (outer integument), and in good cultivars may comprise 80 percent of fruit weight. The aril is generally translucent white, juicy or firm, and sweet and aromatic in better cultivars. Many cultivars can be distinguished by their flavour and aroma. This low-calorie fruit has more Vitamin C than citrus fruits, as much fiber as an apple and potassium levels comparable to a banana. Lychee fruits are popular in the market-place, especially in Asia. Longan resembles lychee, but the fruit are smaller, smoother, yellow-tan to brown, milder in flavour and less acid. -The Seeds: Lychee fruit is usually oval in shape and its outer covering is pink-red in colour and it has a seed inside it. The fruit contain a single dark brown seed 6 to 12 mm wide and 10 to 23 mm long. In a fruit has one round and hard seed. Seeds are brown. Rind of seed is hard, thin, dark red when ripe, and with strumaes. Some cultivars have a high proportion of aborted seeds and thus a high flesh recovery. There are a few cultivars that produce nearly seedless fruit, although the fruit usually weigh less than 10 g. In many countries Lychee seed is the wasted thing, but in China the dried Lychee seed called Li Zhi He (Lychee Nut) is a good source of medicinal uses, especially for reducing blood glucose and making blood lipid lower…
3- Cutivation of Lychee Fruits on the World
3.1- Planting and Production The Species Lychee (Litchi chinensis) is the sole member of the Genus Litchi in the Soapberry Family (Sapindaceae). It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to the Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, and now cultivated in many parts of the world. Nowadays, the top producers of Lychee fruits include Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Southern Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. (1)- Lychee fruits in Mainland China In 1980 the total production of Lychee in China had only 50,000 tonnes. Before 1990, orchards were generally managed by small landholders, whereas in recent times, large commercial companies have invested in the industry. In 1999 China had 580,000 ha Lychee was planted with production of 1,260,000 tonnes. Lychee trees are distributed in seven provinces, with: - Guangdong province: 303.080 ha, average yield 3.0 tonnes/ha, production 793,200 tonnes; - Guangxi province: 210,000 ha, average yield 1.3 tonns/ha, production 310,000 tonnes; - Fujian province: 40,220 ha, average yield 5.3 tonnes/ha, production 150,000 tonnes; - Hainan province: 18,600 ha, average yield 3.2 tonnes/ha, production 15,000 tonnes; - The next three provinces followed by Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou. The main commercial zone of cultivation occurs from 19° to 24°N latitude, with fruit available from early May to early August. Guangdong produces about 65 percent of the crop. There are over 80 counties with lychee orchards, although production is centered around Guangzhou. Lychee ranks second after citrus as the most important fruit crop. In Fujian, citrus and longan are more important. Yields of 10 tonnes per ha are possible in well-managed orchards in Guangdong and Fujian, with average yields of 4 tonnes per ha. Productivity is lower in Guangxi, where lychee is considered a poorer proposition than longan. The Guangdong Litchi Technical Association (GLTA) provides information on production and marketing for various sections of the industry. (2)- Lychee fruits in Taiwan Marcot, a variety of Lychee was introduced into northern Taiwan Province of China from mainland China in 1760 and again in 1860. However, commercial production did not begin until the late 1920s, when trees were planted in southern areas away from strong winds of the Pacific Ocean. Since that time, material has been distributed to nearly every district in Taiwan Province of China except the north where it is cold and wet. Most of the plantings are in the central and southern parts of the island where there are large areas of alluvial sandy loams. Yields are higher on these soils than on the mountain slopes. Conditions are ideal for flowering, with mature trees carrying 500 kg of fruit in a season. Total production is 110,000 tonnes from 12,000 ha. (3)- Lychee fruits in Philippines The Philippines produces many tropical fruit including banana, pineapple, mango and several citrus. Lychee is also grown, but on a much smaller scale. The species was introduced 100 years ago, but has only been considered for commercial expansion fairly recently. The cost of production is high, and the fruit expensive compared with other tropicals. There is an indigenous lychee, Litchi chinensis sub-species philippinensis that grows in more tropical areas up to 500 m, but it is not commercialized. Various clonal material and seedlings were introduced into the more tropical areas from China and Thailand, but most failed to flower and crop. Commercial plantings are now based in the Cordillera Autonomous Region in the north, especially in Benguet, and in Ilocos Sur at 1,000 to 1,380 m. There are also smaller orchards in Batangas and Laguna, and in Cagayan de Oro. (4)- Lychee fruits in Indonesia Lychee is a minor fruit in Indonesia, with smaller plantings than longan or rambutan. Commercial activity is limited to a few districts in Bali (latitude 8°S) at 400 to 700 m. The area has average temperatures of 22° to 31°C, total rainfall of 2,500 to 3,000 mm, and a four month dry season. Nearly all of the trees are found in home gardens and along the roadside, with few commercial plantings. There are no specific guidelines for orchard management, although some old trees can carry 200 to 300 kg of fruit in a good season. Fruit are mainly sold in local markets and hotels in bamboo baskets, without any post-harvest treatment. (5)- Lychee fruits in Thailand There are no official records when Lychee was introduced into Thailand, although planting material probably came with Chinese traders and seafarers more than 150 years ago. Some of the largest specimens are more than 100 years old. Lychee ranks eleventh in the list of economic fruit crops in Thailand, whereas longan is in the top three. The main commercial activity is in the north from 300 to 600 m between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai (60 percent of production), Phayao, Nan, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae and Fang in a monsoon climate, with a distinct dry season. Plantings have also been established in the more tropical humid, high-rainfall areas of Chanthaburi, Samut Songkhram, Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Ratchasima, north, east and west of Bangkok. Flowering is more consistent and yields higher in the cooler elevated areas, which account for 90 percent of production. The crop in 2000 was a record 80,000 tonnes from 23,000 ha. Fruit are available from mid-March to mid-June, due to the range in climates and cultivars exploited. (6)- Lychee fruits in Vietnam Northern Viet Nam includes part of the area where lychee originated. Wild trees have been found growing at low elevation in the Ba Vi Mountains and forests in Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Province) and Tuyen Hoa (Quang Binh Province). Fruit from these areas were reportedly sent to the Emperor of China in Peking (Beijing), several thousand kilometers away, however, commercial production only began in the 1980s. The total area under cultivation (in 2000) is 30,000 ha, with production centered within 40 to 200 km from Hanoi, with Bac Giang province (20,250 tonnes), Hai Duong province (11,600 tonnes) and Quang Ninh (7,000 tonnes) more important. The industry is based on a single cultivar, Vai Thieu (Vãi Thiều), and thus has a relatively short season from late May to early June. (7)- Lychee fruits in India Lychee reached India through Myanmar at the end of the seventeenth century, and the country is now the second largest producer after China. During the last 200 years, it has been distributed to much of the north and northeast of the country. It ranks seventh in area, and ninth in production amongst fruit, and provides income for millions of farmers. About 75 percent of the crop is produced in northern Bihar (310,000 tonnes), with lychee the most important fruit. The other main areas include West Bengal (36,000 tonnes), Tripura (27,000 tonnes), Assam (17,000 tonnes), Punjab (13,000 tonnes), Uttar Predesh (14,000 tonnes) and Orissa (9,000 tonnes). The total area under cultivation rose from 9,400 ha in 1949 to 56,000 ha in 1998. The latter figure represents 1.5 percent of the area under fruit in India. Both production and yield have increased in recent years, with fruit available from May to June in the different States. Irrigation is necessary for commercial production in many areas, since there is often a long dry season. (8)- Lychee fruits in Nepal Although Nepal is a small country, variations in climate allow the production of a range of fruit including lychee in the plains and low hills from 60 to 950 m. There is increasing interest in the crop with 14,000 tonnes being produced from 3,000 ha. Production is expected to steadily rise in the next few years, as young trees start to bear commercial crops. (9)- Lychee fruits in Bangladesh The history of lychee in Bangladesh is unclear, although the species was probably introduced from Myanmar in the 1800s. Direct Chinese and Indian imports soon followed. Trees can be found over much of the country, but are especially common in Jessore (1,520 tonnes), Rajshahi (1,380 tonnes), Rangpur (1,100 tonnes) and Chittagong (985 tonnes). Total production is 13,000 tonnes. The fruit are popular, but only available in the market for two months of the year. Cultivation technology is also not well developed, with many young trees dying in the first few years after planting, and low average yields of 2 tonnes per ha. (10)- Lychee fruits in Australia Lychee was introduced into Australia 100 years ago, although commercial production only expanded in the late 1970s. The industry was initially based around Cairns (latitude 17°S) and Ingham in northern Queensland, but later expanded to include much of the eastern coastline down to the middle of New South Wales (latitude 30°S). About 50 percent of production is in north Queensland, 40 percent in central and southern Queensland, and 10 percent in northern New South Wales. Productivity is generally more reliable in central and southern districts. There are 350 growers and 1,500 ha producing 5,000 tonnes worth US$10 million. About 25 percent of production is exported to Asia, the Pacific and Europe. Improvements in fruit quality, grade standards, quality assurance and the formation of cooperative marketing groups have fostered a successful export market. When properly grown and marketed, returns on a hectare basis more than match those of other tropical crops such as avocado, mango and macadamia. Well-managed orchards can yield 10 tonnes per ha.
See Video about Lychee Fruits
See Video: Growing Lychee Fruits in Daklak - Vietnam