Lychee Facts

Lychee Facts
Lychee is tropical plant that belongs to the soapberry family. It originates from China. There are three subspecies of lychee, but only one is commercially important (cultivated as a source of food). Cultivation of lychee started 2.000 years ago. Lychee was favorite type of fruit of many Chinese emperors. Lychee grows on well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It can be found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world today. Lychee requires cold weather during the winter for the successful development of flower buds and warm, moist weather with high temperatures during the summer for the production of fruit. People cultivate lychee as a source of food and in ornamental purposes.
Interesting Lychee Facts:
Lychee is medium-sized tree that can reach 40 to 50 feet in height.
Lychee has short trunk covered with smooth, grey or black bark and low spreading, brownish-red branches.
Lychee develops evergreen, shiny, leathery, green leaves composed of 2 to 4 thin leaflets arranged in pairs.
Lychee produces individual male and female flowers (monoecious plant) gathered in long terminal clusters (panicles) composed of up to 3.000 flowers. They can be green, yellow or white colored.
Lychee blooms from November to February in the northern hemisphere and from April to August in the southern hemisphere. Flowers are fragrant and they attract bees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit looks like bumpy strawberry with roundish, sharp protuberances. Botanically speaking, lychee is drupe. Fruit grows arranged in dense clusters (of 3 to 50). Lychee ripens 100 to 120 days after pollination.
Lychee has rough skin on the surface that can be pink or reddish-brown colored. Edible flesh is succulent, white and translucent. Each fruit contains one large, shiny, brown seed.
Lychee is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, B1, B3, B9 and minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium and magnesium. 100g of fruit contains 66 calories.
Lychee has floral aroma and sweet taste that resembles a mix of grape and pear. Flesh has a texture similar to grape.
Lychee can be consumed fresh, in the form of fruit salads, or it can be used for the preparation of ice-creams, juices, jellies, jams, syrups and various refreshing beverages and tea. Lychee is also available in dried and canned form.
Seed contains toxic compounds that can induce unpleasant side effects in digestive system after consumption.
Lychee is natural diuretic. It alleviates pain associated with kidney stones and reduces formation of blood cloths. Lychee can prevent development of breast cancer.
Lychee is also known as "Chinese strawberry" because it originates from China and looks like strawberry. This fruit is symbol of love and romance in China.
China and India are the greatest manufacturers of lychee in the world.
Lychee is perennial plant that can survive around 1.000 years in the wild.

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