Litchi chinensis is an evergreen tree from China. It is one of the best-known Chinese fruit trees because of its tasty flesh. It is widely planted in Southern China.
Lychee prefers porous sandy soil and is commonly seen along riverbanks and canals. It is not tolerant to the cold and mainly grows in southern areas. In Hong Kong, it can be found in Tai Po, Sheung Shui, Yuen Long and Lantau Island.
The fruit is round with a red and rough shell, 2.5 to 4 cm across. The flesh is white with a glossy brown seed, tastes sweet. The flowers are small and yellow, in long terminal leafless panicles. The calyx is small without corolla.
Some places in the New Territories have planted lychee for several hundred years, and therefore named after lychee. Examples are ‘Lai Chi Shan’ in Tai Po, ‘Lai Chi Wo’ in Sha Tau Kok and ‘Lai Chi Chong’ in Sai Kung. The leaves, roots, flesh and seeds of lychee can be used as medicine. The flesh can be eaten fresh or preserved by drying or canning. However, many people have allergy on skin, in throat or even got fever after eating too much lychee. Therefore we should not eat too much.