Sapindaceae | Litchi
1. Litchi chinensis Sonnerat; Voy. Indes Orient. 3: 255. 1782.
?? li zhi
Dimocarpus lichi Loureiro; Litchi chinensis var. euspontanea H. H. Hsue; Nephelium chinense (Sonnerat) Druce; N. lit-chi Cambess?des; Scytalia chinensis (Sonnerat) Gaertner.
Trees; evergreen; often less than 10 m tall; sometimes to 15 m tall or more. Bark grayish black; branches brownish red; terete; with dense white lenticels. Leaves with petiole 10-25 cm or longer; leaflets 2 or 3(or 4) pairs; petiolules 7-8 mm; blades adaxially deep green and shiny; lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate; sometimes elliptic-lanceolate; 6-15 x 2-4 cm; thinly leathery or leathery; abaxially glaucous; glabrous; lateral veins often slender; conspicuous or slightly prominent abaxially; margin entire; apex cuspidate or shortly caudate-acuminate. Inflorescences terminal; large; many branched. Pedicels 2-4 mm; slender; sometimes short and stout. Calyx golden tomentose. Stamens 6 or 7; sometimes 8; filaments ca. 4 mm. Ovary densely tuberculous
and hispid. Fruit usually dark red to fresh red when mature; globose to subglobose; 2-3.5 cm. Seeds thoroughly covered by fleshy arillode. Fl. spring; fr. summer.
Native in SW Guangdong (Xuwen) and Hainan; widely cultivated in S China; especially in S Fujian and Guangdong [Laos; Malaysia; Myanmar; New Guinea; Philippines; Thailand; Vietnam; widely cultivated in subtropical regions].
Long cultivated in China; this species is famous for its fruit (litchi; lichee; lychee). Nowadays there are about ten cultivars in China.