Kaye Family Farm

PO Box 116
Honomu, HI 96728

Lychee is a popular tree in Hawaii, valued for its delicious fruit. As its botanical name implies, Litchi chinensis originated in China. Lychee (also written litchi, li-chi) is a large, long-lived, subtropical, evergreen tree that bears fruit from May to August in Hawaii.

The first lychee plant brought to Hawaii was imported from China in 1873 by Mr. Ching Chock and planted on the property of Mr. Chun Afong. It was known as the "Afong" tree and was initially considered to be the Chinese cultivar 'Kwai Mi' (or 'Kwai Mei'), but it was later identified as 'Tai Tso' (or 'Tai So').

Lychee is a round-topped, long-lived, subtropical evergreen tree growing to 40 ft (12 m) in height. Immature leaflets are pale green, often tinged with bronze or pink, turning dark green and leathery when mature. Leaves are pinnate with one to five pairs of leaflets. Flowers are small, greenish-white or yellow, lacking petals, and borne in large numbers on branched, terminal panicles up to 12 inches (30 cm) long. The fruit is a tubercled, oval to ovoid drupe about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter by 11/4 - 11/2 inches (3-4 cm) long with rough, brittle, red skin. The fruit flesh is juicy, white, translucent, and gelatinous, and does not adhere to the seed. The single seed is usually large but occasionally small and shrunken or abortive. Such abortive seeds are often referred to as "chicken tongue" seeds.

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