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Litchi The Sweetheart

NB: before you begin reading, I invite the reader to view the delightfully clear digital shots of Mr.Maguire, whose site should give you a more clear view of tropical fruits and their blooms than this photographer can. Click to:

Although "Sweet Heart" is a strain of the exquisite fruit, Lychee, or Litchi is only one of a number of varieties, shoppers are familiar, by now, with the luscious tropical fruits from these rather huge trees. One may purchase them every year, usually around December through March.

I have always loved the fantastic luxury of the advances in product imports, as I have savoured star fruit, lychee, coconuts, apricots, almonds,in fact, so many fruits or other foods with which we have become familiar through international commerce.

Of the Litchi, there are 24 varieties including:

Bengal, Brewster, Emperor, Hak Ip, Kaimana, Kwai Mai Pink, Mauritius,and  No Mai Tze,as well as Sweet Heart.

The fruit, itself, is a rounded, white and transluscent heart shape held in a tough, but readily peeled hard shell, coloured rose to dark red.The shell is lumpy and strange to observe, but within - the delectable, gentle fruit tastes mildly (and very refreshingly) of grapefruit tinged with roses.

These trees now grow in Florida, where they are an annual crop. Their South Florida growing season is from mid-May until mid-June.One of the fruit tree producing nurseries has noted, in the site directly below this paragraph, that the tree is well -suited to the Florida climate, and that it has already become an important Florida crop.

Read more in the link below:

Litchee originates from China, and its average size in Florida is 25 feet by 25 feet, though the Eastern trees are considered enormous by the Asian agrarians writing for Eastern businesses.

The Florida grower recommends some tactics which promote blossoming, hence,"for bearing-age trees, cut off all water and fertilizer by October. Stress caused by winter's drought and cold is believed to induce heavier bloom."

The following more scientific report suggests that, even though these fruit are a tropical species that hardening off the seed before germinating, at 0 degrees produced gratifying results:

In Vitro Multiplication of Litchi chinensis Sonn. (Litchi).

School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi - 110067, INDIA.

 "In the present investigation, the germination percentage of seeds was improved by giving a cold treatment (0C) for four weeks. The seedlings germinated under aseptic conditions were used for the induction of multiple shoots from auxillary buds by in planta treatment with 6, benzylamino purine (BAP) over a period of 30 days. An average of ca. eight shoot buds could be formed from each node. These shoots were further elongated and rooted on half strength B5 medium supplemented with 0.1 mg/l a-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA). These plantlets are being hardened for transfer to the soil."

Many abstracts re propagation and experimentation are available in the above link, including Litchi chinensis Sonn. (Litchi).Click to the abstract to read the rest of the details.

I mentioned the concepts of both Florida and East Indian growers as to exposure to cold for the best type of Litchi growth, since it shall only be a matter of time before we Canadians and more Northeren Americans may enjoy the beauty of growing our own hardy species of Litchi in our orchards and ,hopefully, our backyards.

Why do I include an obvious fruit in a site devoted to herbs? Though no-one has mentioned the significance in the sites I have toured, apparently Litchi fruit offers as much Vitamin C as citrus fruit, and is an adequate substitute. Those people who have PMS might be overjoyed to find that there is a source of nourishment which offers them greater ease in taking their daily vitamin requirements, since PMS can make citrus fruit an irritant to the nervous system.

 I started trying to investigate Litchi when I discovered a magnificent 100% pure fruit juice packaged by Ceres.

Though I don't usuallly mention brand names, I am thankful for the originality and expertise in their having offered  actual Litchi juice to the Western market.

In the Ottawa Valley, I have purchased this in Sobeys' supermarket, in their organic foods, or health food section.

Litchi juice is probably available in other similar areas in the valley.The juice ia absolutely wonderful- heaven. We all need a little taste of fresh right now after the drying cold, and so I thought you might like to know something about the funny looking little fruit.budgie

LINKS: Did you know that.. ?

Litchi produces fluids: Chinese nutrition

Litchi is healthy nutrition for budgies:

Read about  healthy sorts of fruit for your fabulous feathered friends...

You may, apparently, feed all of the delights below to budgies....(not all at once)

{ budgie graphic on the right is linked to the British Library, courtesy }

Apple, Apricot, Asian pear, Banana, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Black Elder ,Blood orange, Blueberry, Cape gooseberry, Carambola ,Cherimoya, Cherry ,Clementine, Custard apple, Dried date, Fig (fresh), Gooseberry, Grape, Grenadine, Guava, Huckleberry, Japanese Persimmon, Kiwifruit, Loquat, Lychee (Litchi), Mango, Melon2, Nectarine, Opuntia fruit, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Japanese Pineapple, Plum ,Quince, Rambutan, Raspberry, Redcurrant, Strawberry, Tangerine, Tamarillo (Tree tomato),Yellow Plum 

Imagine a typical garden in SE Asia:

Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up (in the morning when the world is new) - wouldn't it be nice if we could cherish every plant linked, below (in the morning dew?)

We could be married...

We could be happy...

We could dump this Canadian winterrrrr.....

How many aspects of a typical tropical garden can we include in our tough 7 to 9 frost zones, I wonder?


Francophones will be delighted to find a site in French (also in English) on the qualities of Litchi. I am glad to be able to read another language, due to a Canadian education, and the article offers another name to the list for the Lychee-"cerise de Chine", meaning "Chinese Cherry" !

The article claims that one may find fresh Litchi in the market from November to January. I am not sure about crop resources offered to Ontario, but I feel that the fruit is available a little longer than three months, maybe from Florida growers.This article wll tell you that the Litchi is also cultivated in Brasil and  the Far Orient, as well as in Israel and Antilles.

Here is another reference which will tell you that the fruit has as much Vitamin C as citrus-  : 40 mg per 100 g, or better than the required daily amount of C- 80 to 100 mg a day.That seems like a small amount of C- I am used to taking 1000 mg a day, but I am repeating the study article.

nutritives and constituents,nutritionally.


For serious ecologists or agrarians, also herbs or pharmaceutical investors, a look at future possibilities for third world agricultural products:

A handy Journal re: agronomical method for medicinal or nutritional factors in fruits and plants, and its Literature reference list:


If you have a look at the Properties page for Litchi chinensis, you will find many nutritional values. Personally, I am still exploring the net for more information on the hydrating qualities of Litchi, since someone I know nearly died from dehydration recently.

I would certainly recommend this exquisite drink to people convalescing and suffering from wasting syndrome, since it is so tender and palatable a fruit drink. Some people might make strange over the fruit, but its taste is mild and very exotic!

Judging from the entries in ecologizing agronomy sites, this plants' produce, along with many of natures' fruits, could be capable of producing greater yield in terms of what can be made from them. A great example of what science can do to stimulate agribusiness, and hence, a nations' economy can be found in works describing the wonderful contribution of Americas' horticultural treasure, George Washington Carver.

This fabulous man had an early Findhorn going in his backyard. He took in sick plants, spoke to them, nurtered them, and made them well.

He discoverd hundreds of uses for the peanut( amongst them, oil and shoe polish-believe it or not!), a nut thought of as suitable only for animal fodder in his day.

His work was so incredible that a company discovered his natural science and paid for his whole education as a chemist, subsequently employing him full time for their own endeavour.

If you are like my hero, or even like myself, a hobbyist- do not give up in the feeing that there are insurmountably brilliant Doctorates out there, defying your every discovery as bunkum and horse puckies. Instead, imagine that every discovery is a sign along the way, and rejoice! Your discovery might be made so discretely away from the commercial aspect of a plants' identity that it could literally have been a totally unthought of answer to medicines' prayers!

So, Litchi lovers- the qualities of this tree may hold further interest, later on!


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