Lychee’s Health Benefits and Common Characteristics

Lychee, which is also spelt as lichi, lichee, laichi, leechee or litchi is a well-known fruit that is widely cultivated in China and India. The traits of lychee are traced back to ancient China. The ripened lychee has a thick pink-red outer cover and a very soft and fleshy inside which is edible. The flavour, aroma, and very sweet taste of the fruit, make it a favourite for the people as well as the farmers. It is seen in every country of Southeast Asia.

The refreshing fruit after removing it from the plant will not ripen more. So, it is advised to keep the fruit on the tree until it is completely ripened. Another important factor is that after removing the fruit from the tree, it will start to ferment. Normally, the fruit’s colour is pinkish-red, but some varieties have an orange to yellow-pink hue.

The common characteristics of lychee

  • Lychee or lichi grows up to 9-30 meters in height if the plant is not controlled with pruning.
  • It is an evergreen tree that has dark green elliptic to lanceolate shaped leaves which grow up to 12-20cm. The leaves grow in clusters having 10 or more.
  • After flowering the plant bears fruits that are oval-shaped and 25mm long.
  • The tree bears fruit in 3-5 years after planting an air-layered stem.
  • The seed is not edible which contains Hypoglycin A and methylene cyclopropyl-glycin.
  • The tree is not recommended indoors as abundant sunlight and watering is required for the plant.
  • The fruit is normally eaten afresh, but sometimes frozen. It is used in varieties of sauces, jam, puree, or other kinds of desserts.

How to plant lychee?

  • Both seeds and layered stems are used for lychee. But air-layered or budded stems are recommended because the seeds will take years to grow and bear fruits. There is no guarantee that fruits from such trees will have all the traits of the mother plant’s fruits.
  • A mature plant requires good sunlight, watering and humidity at the same time.
  • The plant needs slightly acidic and well-drained soil.
  • Keep a distance of 12-15 meters in between two lychee trees.
  • No need to give extra care to fertilisers. Give only organic fertilisers such as cow manure and bone meal.
  • During the first period of planting make sure to keep away the plant from the wind as the plant will be easily damaged.   

How to eat lychee?

  • Break the hard outer shell using a knife or with fingers. The outer-hard skin will be easy to remove when the fruit is ripening.
  • Eat the white-fleshy inside and remove the seed.
  • Handle the fruit gently as the fruit is very delicate inside.
  • The fruit can be eaten raw or can use in many delicacies such as juice, syrups, jams, puddings, fruit salads and ice creams.
  • It is not recommended to have lychee on an empty stomach.

Lychee is from the soapberry family and its botanical name is lychee Chinensis. The pulp is rich in vitamin C that can cover daily needed vitamin for a person. The fruit is also called alligator strawberry.