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A picture of a Lychee


Litchi spp.

Lychee Mauritius01 Asit by Thaumaturgist (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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USDA zone


Minimum temperature


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

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Litchi chinensis fruits
A photo of Lychee
Litchi chinensis flowers 01


Litchi is a genus containing just 1 species of large evergreen tropical tree in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. This genus is native to China, the single species, L. chinensis, has likely been cultivated for over 1000 years, primarily for its edible fruits, known as lychees. Three subspecies have evolved from this species and they are only differentiable by the positioning of their flowers, the number of stamens on the flowers, the thickness of branches and the fruits. Lychee is also a common name for this genus, after the fruits. Flowers are starry in appearance from many stamens and coloured cream-yellow. Foliage is divided into oval to lance-shaped leaflets, these are arranged in groups of 2-4 and leaflets measure between 50-75cm in length. The trees need a tropical climate with high summer temperatures, although many cultivars have been developed to withstand a range of conditions including cool temperate zones.

Special Features

Attractive fruits