Before its name with the Mandarin word "" lhizi "" meaning "to leave its branches" ", the lychee is a tropical fruit tree belonging to the sapindaceae family, and known worldwide for its fruits of the same name. Originating in China where its culture goes back to more than 2000 years and could be at the time the stake of rivalries between the big families, the lychee is today mainly cultivated in Asia, in South Africa and in Madagascar, island where most of the French import of this fruit comes from. The lychee can reach 15 to 20 m in height.
140 days before the fruit ripens, tiny flowers appear on the branches of the fruit tree. The lychee flower is white and devoid of petals. The fruit, it appears each year in summer, at the end of hanging clusters which can each present a dozen lychees, easily recognizable by their shape in small spheres of scaly appearance and color oscillating between pink and red.
By its origin, the lychee must be grown in a warm and humid environment, sheltered from the wind. Its pot culture can be done from a very ripe and clean pit placed in a pot of moist soil, near a window. The first shoots appear a few weeks later followed by the first leaves. It is then advisable to place the pot on a few centimeters of gravel, in a saucer filled with water.
It is essential to make a generous watering of the lychee before flowering, that is to say from spring until the beginning of summer, then to space it out. It can then be reduced in the fall to promote flowering. It is advisable to bring fertilizer from February to April.
Uses of lychee
Consumable after having removed its bark, the lychee gives an exotic feeling in the mouth with a pulpy and juicy interior, very rich in vitamin C. Be careful not to consume the lychee seed. This varnished brown seed is indeed toxic. The fruit is also recommended for its astringent, analgesic, stomachic and tonic effects. Lychee yeast extract is used during antibiotic treatments of the intestinal flora.