from China with compound
leaves, cream- colored
rough-textured, green to red fruits (produced
in may and June). The
, white pulp of the fruit has a grape-like consistency and
is highly prized when fresh or canned in syrup. The dried fruits,
"litchi nuts," are sweeter and more like raisins.
Note the small whitish flowers. The part of the fruit that is eaten is the whitish pulp. The pulpy part is technically an aril, or outgrowth from the funiculus or seed stalk . Seeds in this family are commonly arillate .
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Burmese:
Kyet Mouk, Lam Yai, Lin Chi
Common Names in Chinese:
Li Zhi (Li Chi), Li Zhi Guo
Common Names in Danish:
Kinesisk Blomme, Litchiblomme
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
Lichee, Chinese Cherry, Leechee, Litchi, Lychee
Common Names in French:
Cerisier De Chine, Letchi (Réunion), Litchi, Litchi De Chine, Litchie, Litchier, Pied De Letchi (Réunion), Quenepe Chinois (Haiti)
Common Names in German:
Litchi, Litchibaum, Litchipflanze, Litschi, Litschibaum, Litschipflaume
Common Names in Greek:
Common Names in Italian:
Common Names in Japanese:
Common Names in Khmer:
Common Names in Laotian:
Common Names in Malay:
Kalengkeng (Indonesia), Kelengkang, Laici, Lici (Indonesia), Litsi (Indonesia) Klengkeng (Indonesia), Mengkuris (Borneo)
Common Names in Portuguese:
Lechia, Lichia, Litchia
Common Names in Russian:
Lichi Kitaiskaia, Lichi Kitaiskoe, Lichi Lichi, Lidzhi Kitaiskoe, Nefelium, Nefelium Lichi
Common Names in Spanish:
Lechia, Lichi, Mamoncillo Chino
Common Names in Swedish:
Kinesiska Plommon, Litchiplommon
Common Names in Tagalog:
Alupag-Amo, Letsias, Licheas
Common Names in Thai:
Lin Cee), Lin Chi Pa, Linchi (Lin Cii, Si Raman (See Raaman), Si Raman Khao, ลิ้นจี่
Common Names in Vietnamese:
Cây Vai, Ngan Xanh
(or woody vines
in Cardiospermum and allied genera), rarely herbaceous climbers
. Indumentum usually of simple
, often glandular
on young parts, buds, and inflorescences. Leaves alternate, usually estipulate; leaf blade
pinnate or digitate, rarely simple; leaflets
alternate to opposite, entire or dentate
to serrate. Inflorescence a terminal
; bracts and bracteoles small. Flowers unisexual
, rarely polygamous or bisexual
or zygomorphic, usually small. Sepals 4 or 5(or 6), equal or unequal, free
, imbricate or valvate
. Petals 4 or 5(or 6), sometimes absent, free, imbricate, usually clawed, often with scales
or hair-tufted basal appendages
. Disk conspicuous
, rarely absent. Stamens 5-10(-74), usually 8, rarely numerous
, variously inserted
but usually within disk, often exserted in male flowers; filaments
free, rarely connate; anthers
, longitudinally dehiscent
; staminodes sometimes present in carpellate
flowers, but filaments shorter and anthers with a thick wall, indehiscent. Ovary superior, (1-) 3(or 4) -loculed; ovules 1 or 2(or several) per locule, placentation axile
, rarely parietal
, campylotropous, or amphitropous
; style usually apical (terminal), semigynobasic in Allophylus [gynobasic
in Deinbollia Schumacher & Thonning]; stigma entire or 2 or 3(or 4) -lobed, usually rudimentary
in male flowers. Fruit a loculicidal capsule, berry, or drupe, or consisting of 2 or 3 samaras, often 1-seeded and 1-loculed by abortion
. Seeds 1(or 2 or more) per locule; testa black or brown, hard, often with a conspicuous fleshy aril or sarcotesta
; embryo curved
, or twisted, oily and starchy; endosperm usually absent. 2n = 20-36.
One hundred thirty-five genera and ca. 1500 species: widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions, especially well represented in tropical SE Asia; 21 genera (one endemic) and 52 species (16 endemic, one introduced ) in China.
There is some variation in the circumscription of Sapindaceae in taxonomic treatments, particularly with regard to the inclusion of genera from the closely related, predominately temperate families Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae. Several studies including Müller and Leenhouts (in Ferguson & Müller, Evolutionary Significance Exine: 407-445. 1976), and more recently those based on molecular data (Stevens, Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, 2001 onward; Harrington et al. , Syst. Bot. 30: 366-382. 2005), supported the recognition of a broadly defined Sapindaceae incorporating Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae. Harrington et al. (loc. cit. ) proposed four subfamilies or clades, comprising Sapindoideae (including
Koelreuteria and Ungnadia Endlicher), Dodonaeoideae, Hippocastanoideae (including taxa previously referred to Aceraceae and Hippocastanaceae, plus Handeliodendron), and a monotypic "Xanthoceratoideae". Within Hippocastanoideae, Acer Linnaeus and Dipteronia Oliver comprise a monophyletic group and are treated in this Flora as Aceraceae. Similarly, Aesculus Linnaeus, Billia Peyritsch, and the Chinese endemic Handeliodendron Rehder form a monophyletic group and are treated here as Hippocastanaceae. There is some support for "Xanthoceratoideae" being the first lineage to diverge within the broadly defined Sapindaceae assemblage; consequently, Xanthoceras is treated separately from genera in Sapindoideae and Dodonaeoideae in the following account of Sapindaceae s.s. The sequence of genera reflects Müller and Leenhouts (loc. cit.) as modified by recent analyses based on molecular and morphological data, rather than following the order developed by Radlkofer (Sitzungsber. Math.-Phys. Cl. Königl. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. München 20: 105-379. 1890; and in Engler, Pflanzenreich 98a-h(IV . 165) : 1-1539. 1931-1934), which was previously followed in FRPS.
The main economic uses of this family include (1) timber: Amesiodendron chinense, Dimocarpus longan, D. confinis, Litchi chinensis, Pavieasia kwangsiensis, and Pometia pinnata; (2) fruit: Dimocarpus longan, Litchi chinensis, and Nephelium lappaceum; (3) medicine: Dimocarpus longan (arillode ), Litchi chinensis (seeds), and Sapindus saponaria (roots ) ; (4) oil : Amesiodendron chinense, Delavaya toxocarpa, and Xanthoceras sorbifolium. Saponins occur widely in the family, commonly used as a fish poison and for their detergent properties.
, monoecious. Leaves paripinnate
, alternate, estipulate. Thyrses
, golden tomentose
; bracts and bracteoles small. Flowers unisexual
. Calyx cupular, 4- or 5-lobed, valvate
, opening early. Petals absent. Disk acetabuliform
, entire. Stamens (male flowers) 6-8, exserted; filaments
. Ovary (female flowers) shortly stalked
, obcordiform, 2(or 3) -lobed, 2(or 3) -loculed; ovules 1 per locule; style inserted
between ovary lobes; stigma 2- or 3-lobed. Fruit deeply parted
into 2 or 3 schizocarps, usually only 1 or 2 developed, ovoid
or subglobose; pericarp leathery (crustaceous
when dry), abaxially with tortoise-shell-like fissure
, with scattered
, sometimes nearly smooth
. Seeds nearly same shape
as schizocarps; testa brown, nitid
, leathery, arillode
all or lower half of seed; embryo erect
. 2n = 28, 30.
One species: SE Asia; widely cultivated in subtropical regions.
Species Litchi chinensis
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 × 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. [source]
Flowers: Bloom Period: March. • Flower Color: inconspicuous, none
Size: 30-40' tall.
Culture: Space 15-20' apart.
Soil: Minimum pH: 5.6 • Maximum pH: 6.5
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Superorder: Rutanae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Rosidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Magnoliopsida () - Brongniart, 1843 - Dicotyledons
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Dimocarpus lichi Loureiro • Litchi chinensis var. euspontanea H. H. Hsue • N. lit-chi Cambessèdes • Nephelium chinense (Sonnerat) Druce • Nephelium litchi Cambess. • Scytalia chinensis (Sonnerat) Gaertner.
: Sonn. Publication
: Voy. Ind. iii. 255 (1782)
Name Status: Accepted Name .
Last scrutiny: 15-Mar-2000
Members of the genus Litchi
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 9 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
L. chinensis (Lichee) · L. chinensis chinensis (Lychee) · L. chinensis javensis (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Brewster' (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Emperor' (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Hak Ip' (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Kwai Mai Pink' (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Mauritius' (Lychee) · L. chinensis 'Sweet Cliff' (Lychee)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 14, 2007:
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data
- Comisión nacional para el conocimiento y uso de la biodiversidad, Banco Nacional de Germoplasma Vegetal, México
- Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad
- , Biodiversidad de Costa Rica
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2667894
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-503504
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13760123
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:783539-1
- GRIN Nomen Number: 22399
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 503504
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 783539-1
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: PDSPN0Q010
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: NELI3
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 47385
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- "Litchi". in Flora of China Vol. 12 Page 6, 16. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]