The sweet fleshy fruit of the tall evergreen tree is also known as lychee. The fruit belongs to the soapberry family.
The outer protective layer or rind of lychee fruit is green when the fruit is immature, but it turns to pink-red or red in color when the fruit becomes ripe. The rind of lychee is roughly textured and covered with small protuberances. It is inedible, but inside the white flesh is edible, sweet, and delicious. Further inside the white flesh is a dark brown seed, which is again inedible.
Cultivation and Production
There are references of lychee in China, which dates as far back as 2000 BC. During the 1st century AD, fresh lychees were a popular tribute item in the Han dynasty in China. However, the cultivation of lychee is documented since the 11th century only. Cultivation of lychee began in southern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam around 1060 AD. Lychee was introduced in the west during the mid 17th century. Lychee entered India during the 18th century, through Burma.
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