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ntroduced Photo: J. M. Garg
Common name: Leechee, Lychee • Bengali: লীচী Lichi • Hindi: लीची Lichi • Kannada: Lichi hannu • Manipuri: লীচী Lichi • Marathi: लीची Lichi • Mizo: Vai-theifeimung • Oriya: Lachu, Lichi • Telugu: లిచీ చెట్టు Lichi chettu
Botanical name: Litchi chinensis    Family: Sapindaceae (Soapberry family)

The Leechee tree is a handsome, dense, round-topped, slow-growing, 30-100 ft tall high and equally broad. Its evergreen leaves, 5-8 in. long, are pinnate, having 4-8 alternate, elliptic-oblong to lance-shaped, abruptly pointed, leaflets. Leaflets are somewhat leathery, smooth, glossy, dark-green on the upper surface and grayish-green beneath, 2-3 in. long. Tiny petal-less, greenish-white to yellowish flowers are borne in clusters up to 30 in. long, at the end of branches. Fruits are showy, borne in loose, hanging clusters of 2-30 strawberry-red, rose, pinkish or amber round balls, tinged with green. Most are aromatic, oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, about 1 in wide and 1.5 in. long. Fruits have a thin, leathery, rough or minutely warty skin, flexible and easily peeled when fresh. Immediately beneath the skin of some varieties is a small amount of clear, delicious juice. The glossy, succulent, thick, translucent-white to grayish or pinkish fleshy aril which usually separates readily from the seed. Leechee is native to South China, widely cultivated in India.

Identification credit: J. M. Garg Photographed in West Bengal, Dehardun & Mumbai.

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