Characteristics of Lychee Tree (Litchi chinensis) in the Wild

Litchi chinensis
Litchi chinensis or Lychee tree is the only member of the genus Litchi in the Sapindaceae family. It includes tropical trees originating from the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian in southeast China, and their planting has been documented since the 11th century.

Lychee tree cultivation began in the southern China region around 1059 AD. Wild trees still grow in southern China and on Hainan Island.

Three subspecies are currently recognized and are differentiated based on flowers, twigs, fruit, and the number of stamens. The subspecies include:

  • Litchi chinensis subsp. Chinensis
  • Litchi chinensis subsp. philippinensis
  • Litchi chinensis subsp. javensis

Besides subspecies, many lychee cultivars are cultivated in almost all of China and the fruit is popular in the world. That includes:

  • Litchi chinensis ‘Sanyuehong’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Baitangying’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Baila’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Shuidong’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Feizixiao’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Dazou’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Heiye’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Nuomici’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Guiwei’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Huaizhi’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Lanzhu’
  • Litchi chinensis ‘Chenzi’

At present, the lychee tree has been widely cultivated in many countries other than China such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, Israel, and the southeastern United States.

China is a major producer of lychees, followed by India and other countries in Southeast Asia. Lychees can be eaten fresh and sweet.


Characteristics of Lychee Leaf

Litchi chinensis Leaf
Source :

Lychee leaves are always green, pinnate, oval to lanceolate, and are between 15-20 cm long.


Characteristics of Lychee Flower

Litchi chinensis Flower
Source : and Kim Starr

The flowers are small, appear in groups, yellowish or greenish-white in color, and smell nice.


Characteristics of Lychee Fruit

Litchi chinensis Fruit
Source : Manners

Lychee fruit has a very varied shape, from oval round to heart-shaped, 5 cm long and 4 cm wide and weighs about 20 grams. The rind is thin, green when still raw and turns red when ripe.

Raw lychees contain 82% water, 17% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and fat.


Characteristics of Lychee Tree

Litchi chinensis Tree
Source : and Kim Starr

Lychee trees grow as medium-sized trees that generally have a height of 15-17 meters, but in their wild habitat, it is found growing up to 25 meters.

Lychee trees need a tropical climate that is free of snow and has warm temperatures. It will grow better if planted on dry soil and contains a lot of nutrients / organic fertilizer.

Not only is cultivated as a fruit-producing tree, but lychee trees are also often planted as ornamental tree in the yard or shrub in the yard of the house, garden, and the edge of the highway.


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