The lychee in Florida

Material Information

The lychee in Florida
Series Title:
Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Cobin, Milton
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
34 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Litchi chinensis ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Bibliography: p. 34-35.
General Note:
Cover title.
Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station)
Statement of Responsibility:
by Milton Cobin.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location:
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management:
This document is copyrighted by the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for the people of the State of Florida. UF/IFAS retains all rights under all conventions, but permits free reproduction by all agents and offices of the Cooperative Extension Service and the people of the State of Florida. Permission is granted to others to use these materials in part or in full for educational purposes, provided that full credit is given to the UF/IFAS, citing the publication, its source, and date of publication.
Resource Identifier:
027108486 ( ALEPH )
18276744 ( OCLC )
AEN7064 ( NOTIS )

Full Text

August. 1951


L Jli ^

rl 9


J. Lee Ballard, Chairman, St. Pe:ershurg
Hollis Rinehart, Miami
Fred H. Kent, Jacksonville
Wm. H. Dial, Orlando
Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Jacksonville
George W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
W. Glenn Miller, Monticello
J. B. Culpepper, Secretary, Tallahas-ee

John S. Allen, Acting President :
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agr.":
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Director
J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Asso. Director
R. W. Bledsoe, Ph.D., Assistant Director
Rogers L. Bartley, B.S., Admin. Mgr.:'
Geo. R. Freeman, B.S., Farm Superintendent
W. H. Jones, Jr., M.Agr., Asst. Supt.


H. G. Hamil:on, Ph.D., Agr. Economist 1i
R. E. L. Greene, Ph.D., Agr. Economist :'
M. A. Brooker, Ph.D., Agr. Economist I
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Economist
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Agr. Economist
D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate
D'. L. Brooke, Ph.D., Associate
M. R. Godwin, Ph.D., Associate :;
W. K. McPherson, M.S., Agr. Economist
Eric Thor, M.S., Asso. Agr. Economist:'
Cecil N. Smith, M.A., Asso. Agr. Economist
Levi A. Powell, Sr., M.S.A., Assistant
E. D. Smith, Ph.D., Asst. Agr. Economist
N. K. Roberts, M.A., Asst. Agr. Economist
Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA)
G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agr. Economist
J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agr. Statistician 2
J. B. Owens, B.S.A., Agr. Statistician '
F'. T. Galloway, M.S., Agr. Statistician
C. L. Crenshaw, M.S., Asst. Agr. Economist
B. W. Kelly, M.S., Asst. Agr. Economist

Frazier Rogers, M.S.A., Agr. Engineer l3
J. M. Myers, M.S.A., Asso. Agr. Engineer
J. S. Norton, M.S., Asst. Agr. Engineer

Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist 1
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Agronomist
Fred A. Clark, M.S., Associate 2
E. S. Horner, Ph.D., Assistant
A. T. Wallace, Ph.D., Assistant
D. E. McCloud, Ph.D., Associate
G. C. Nutter, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
I. M. Wofford, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
E. 0. Burt, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
J. R. Edwardson, Ph.D'., Asst. Agronomist3

T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Husbandman 1 3
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist 3
R. L. Shirley, Ph.D., Biochemist
A. M. Pearson, Ph.D., Asso. An. Husb."
John P. Feas:er, Ph.D., Asst. An. Nutri.
H. D. Wallace, Ph.D., Asso. An. Hfusb."
M. Koger, Ph.D., An. Husbandman 3
J. F. Hentges, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. An. Husb.3
L. R. Arrington, Ph.D., Asst. An. Husbh.
A. C. Warnick, Ph.D., Asst. Physiologist

E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist 3"
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman 3
S. P. Marshall, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Husb.3
W. A. Krienke, M.S., Asso. Dairy Tech.3
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asso. Dairy Husb.0
Leon Mull, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Tech.3
H. H. Wilkowske, Ph.D., Asso. Dairy Tech.3
James M. Wing, Ph.D., Asat. Dairy Husb.

J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor 1
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Editor s
William G. Mitchell, A.B.J.,Assistant Editor
H. L. Moreland, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Editor3

A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Entomologist I
L. C. Kuitert, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
F. A. Robinson, M.S., Asst. Apiculturis:
R. E. Waites, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
S. H. Kerr, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
J. R. Christie, Ph.D., Nematologist

Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.'
R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochem'st

G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist' 1
R. A. Dennison, Ph.D., Hort. & Interim Head
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Horticulturist :
Albert P. Lorz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
R. H. Sharpe, M.S., Asso. Horticulturis'
V. F. Nettles, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Horticulturist
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asso. Hort.
L. H. Halsey, M.S.A., Asst. Short.
C. B. Hall, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Austin Griffiths, Jr., B.S., Asst. Hort.
S. E. McFadden, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
C. H. VanMiddelem, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
B. D. Thompson, M.S.A., Interim Asst. Hort.
M. W. Hoover, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.

Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian

W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pa'thologist'
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Erdman West, M.S., Botanist & Mycologist
Robert W. Earhart, Ph.D., Plant Path.2
Howard N. Miller, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asso. Botanist
C. W. Anderson, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.

N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.':
J. C. Driggers, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry Husb.:

F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist 13
Gaylord M. Volk, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Ralph G. Leighty, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor 2
G. D. Thornton, Ph.D., Microbiologist :
C. F. Eno, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Microbiologist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Chemist -
V. W. Carlisle, M.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor
J. H. Walker, M.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
William K. Robertson, Ph.D'., Ass. Chemist
0. E. Cruz, B.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor
W. G. Blue, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. G. A. Fiskel, Ph.D Asst. Piochemist :
L. C. Hammond, Ph.D., Asst. Soil Physicist :'
H. L. Breland, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Chem.
W. L. Pritchett, Ph.D., Soil Technologist

D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Vete--i arian i :
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian :
C. F. Simpson, D'.V.M., Asso. Veterinarian 4
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist
W. R. Dennis, D.V.M., Asst. Parasiloloist
E. W. Swaithout, D.V.M., Asso. Poultry
Pathologist (Dade City)
M. Ristic, D'.V.M., Assoc'a'e Pathologist
J. G. Wadsworth, D.V M., Asst. Poul. Path.



W. C. Rhoades, M.S., Entomologist in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
L. G. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Agronomist
Frank S. Baker, Jr., B.S., Asst. An. Husb.
T. E. Webb, M.S.A., Asst. Agronomist
Mobile Unit, Monticello
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit, Marianna
R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit, Pensacola
R. L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist
Mobile Unit. Chipley
J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronom:st


A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
J. W. Sites, Ph.D., Horticulturist
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
H. J. Reitz, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Francine Fisher, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
I. W. Wander, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. W. Kesterson, M.S., Asso. Chemist
R. Hendrickson, B.S., Asst. Chemist
Ivan Stewart, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
D. S. Prosser, Jr., B.S., Asst. Engineer
R. W. Olsen, B.S., Biochemist
F. W. Wenzel, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist
Alvin H. Rouse, M.S., Asso. Chemist
H. W. Ford, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
L. C. Knorr, Ph.D., Asso. Histoloist
R. M. Pratt, Ph.D., Asso. Ent.-Pathologist
W. A. Simanton, Ph.D., Entomologist
E. J. Deszyck, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
C. D. Leonard, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
W. T. Long, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
M. H. Muma, Ph.D., Asso. Entomologist
F. J. Reynolds, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
R. B. Johnson, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
W. F. Newhall, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
W. F. Grierson-Jackson, Ph.D., Asst. Chem.
Roger Patrick, Ph.D., Bacteriologist
M. F. Oberbacher, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Physiol.
R. C. J. Koo, Ph.D., Asst. Biochemist
J. R. Kuykendall. Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
W. C. Price, Ph.D., Virologist
J. J. McBride, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Chemist


W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Chemist in Charge
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Fiber Technologist
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Physiologist
J. W. Randolph, M.S., Agricultural Engr.
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asso. Animal Husb.
C. C. Seale, Associate Agronomist
N. C. Hayslip, B.S.A., Asso. Entomologist
E. A. Wolf, M.S., Asst. Horticulturist
W. H. Thames, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
W. G. Genung, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
Robert J. Allen, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
V. E. Green, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
V. L. Guzman, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
J. C. Stephens, B.S., Drainage Engineer 2
A. E. Kretschmer, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Soils
Charles T. Ozaki, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
D. S. Harrison, M.S., Asst. Agri. Engr.
F. T. Boyd, Ph.D., Asso. Agronomist
J. N. Simons, Ph.D., Asst. Virologist
D. W. Beardsley, M.S., Asst. Animal Husb.
R. S. Cox, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist
Donald M. Coe. Ph.D., Asst. Plant Pathologist

Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
D. 0. Wolfenbarger, Ph.D., Entomolorist
Francis B. Lincoln, Ph.D., Horticulturist
Robert A. Conover, Ph.D., Plant Path.
John L. Malcolm, Ph.D., Asso. Soils Chemist
R. W. Harkness, Ph.D., Asst. Chemist
R. Bruce Ledin, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
J. C. Noonan, M.S., Asst. Hort.
M. H. Gallatin, B.S., Soil Conservationist -
T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist

Marian W. Hazen, M.S., Animal Husband-
man in Charge2

W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Agronomist
D. W. Jones, M.S., Asst. Soil Technologist
F. M. Peacock, M.S., Asst. An. Husbandman

R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Vice-Dir. in Charge
J. W. Wilson, ScD., Entomologist
P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
Ben F. Whitner, Jr., B.S.A., Asst. Hort.
J. F. Darby, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.

C. E. Hutton, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
H. W. Lundy, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist
R. L. Jeffers, Ph.D., Asso. Agronomist

G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist in Charge

E. L. Spencer, Ph.D., Soils Chemist in Charpt
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., En'omologist
David G. A. Kelbert, Asso. Horticulturist
Robert 0. Magie, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. M. Walter, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
S. S. Woltz, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
Donald S. Burgis, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
C. M. Geraldson, Ph.D., Asst. Horticulturist
G. Sowell, Jr., Ph.D., Asst. Plant Pathologist


Watermelon, Grape, Pasture-Leesburg
J. M. Crall, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
C. C. Helms, Jr., B.S., Asst. Agronomist
L. H. Stover, Assistant in Horticulture

Strawberry-Plant City
A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist

A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Horticulturist
T. M. Dobrovsky, Ph.D., Asst. Entomologist
D. L. Myhre, Ph.D., Asst. Soils Chemist

A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asso. Entomologist '
John R. Large, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.

Frost Forecasting-Lakeland
Warren 0. Johnson, B.S., Meteorologist ir
Charge 2

1 Head of Department
2 In cooperation with U. S.
SCooperative, other divisions, U. of F
4 On leave


INTRODUCTION ............ ......... 5

BOTANY .. .. .. .... ...... .. .. .. 7

COMPOSITION OF FRUIT ........ .... ............. 10

THE COMMON NAME OF Litchi chinensis ............................... 10

V ARIETIES .. .............................. ... ........... ..... .. 11

CLIMATIC REQUIREMENTS ....... ............. ...... 12

SOILS AND FERTILIZATION ........ .............. ............ .. ..... 14

PROPAGATION .. .................. ...... ....... .. 18

P LAN TIN G .. ............ ............ .... ... ........---- -... ..- 23

P RU N IN G ................... .......... .......... ............... 26

FRUIT YIELDS, HARVESTING AND MARKETING .... ........................ 26

DISEASES AND PESTS .............. ... --- -- ----... .... ....... 29

LITERATURE CITED ............ ...... .... ..... .... ... -.. .....-- 34

The Lychee in Florida

Revised from Bulletin 471 by R. Bruce Ledin

The lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), a subtropical fruit tree
believed to be native to southern China where it has been culti-
vated for thousands of years, is reported as having borne fruit
at Sanford, Florida, as early as 1883 (25)2 indicating that this
species was introduced and grown successfully in the State some-
time during the 1870's.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture and several individuals
since then have introduced a number of varieties of this oriental
fruit tree into Florida. While several commercial nurseries
continued to offer air-layered plants as well as seedling lychee
plants during the first quarter of this century, little effort was
made to plant them other than as specimen trees in estate or
yard plantings. Shortly over a decade ago a lychee tree was
still a rarity in Florida. At that time scattered mature speci-
men trees could be found in the southern half of peninsular
Florida, from Polk County to Dade County. During the past
decade an orchard containing about 1,000 trees was established
and brought into bearing near Laurel (Sarasota County). Since
the end of World War II a number of orchard plantings have
been made from Pinellas County on the west coast, Merritt
Island on the east coast, and Orlando-Sanford area in the central
part of the state, south to Dade County.
On November 5, 1952, in St. Petersburg, a group of individuals
met and officially founded the Florida Lychee Growers Associ-
ation to promote interest in and to disseminate information
pertaining to the culture of the plant and marketing the fruit.
Quantities of plants are being propagated by several commer-
cial nurseries at present to meet the expected increased demand.
This is due in large measure to the increasing interest aroused
by numerous popular articles that in recent years have been
printed in the local press, and also to the favorable reaction of the
increased number of people who have sampled the fresh fruit.

SFormerly Associate Horticulturist, Sub-Tropical Experiment Station.
SItalic figures in parentheses refer to Literature Cited.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

For many years large amounts of the dried fruits have been
shipped from China to the United States, where they have been
marketed as the "lychee nut" principally in the larger cities
containing communities of Chinese-American inhabitants.
While the dried lychee "nut" can be described as having the
consistency and flavor of a raisin, the fresh fruit of a good va-
riety of lychee possesses an edible sweet, yet slightly subacid
flavor and a pleasing fragrance and is rated by many as a choice
Aside from the extensive plantings of this fruit tree in the
southeastern Chinese provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien, suc-
cessful lychee plantings have been established in northern India
and the Union of South Africa, and to a much less extent in
Hawaii, Burma, Madagascar, West Indies, Brazil, Honduras,
Japan and Australia. By far the largest recent world develop-
ment of lychee orchardry is in the eastern Transvaal Lowveld
of the Union of South Africa, where by 1947 approximately
40,000 trees had been established, one orchard alone containing
5,000 bearing trees.

Fig. 1.-Bearing Brewster lychee at Lychee Orchards, Laurel, Florida.
(Photo by J. J. Steinmetz.)

The Lychee in Florida

While very little research work has been performed with the
lychee in Florida, this bulletin has been prepared to provide a
summary of information, based on preliminary observations of
limited plantings in Florida. Included also are observations on
the limited cultural data reported from other subtropical regions
where the lychee is cultivated.


The lychee is the most important of a number of fruit tree
species belonging to the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. The
longan (Euphoria longan Lam.), a close relative, is also grown
in Florida. It resembles the lychee in general aspect but the
fruit quality of the various seedlings found growing here is
definitely inferior to that of a choice lychee. The rambutan
(Nephelium lappaceum L.) and pulasan (Nephelium mutabile
B1.) bear fruit similar to the lychee and are well known in the

Fig. 2.-Brewster lychee growing in Dade County limestone rock, seven
years in the field. Note the heavy straw mulch.

*I I1~C" i
~- -iU'-
.~;~5~~ ~rraf~

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Malayan Archipelago (18) ; neither has been grown successfully
in Florida. The mamoncillo, Spanish lime or genip (Melicocca
bijuga L.) is native to South America and is cultivated in the
West Indies and Key West. The akee (Blighia sapida Koen.)
is a native of Africa and is sometimes found in Florida gardens.
The soapberry (Sapindus saponaria L.) is one of the several
native species belonging to the Sapindaceae, none of which pro-
duce edible fruit.
Litchi chinensis is a medium to large, much-branched ever-
green tree reaching up to 40 feet or more in height and having
an approximately equal spread when grown in the open under
favorable conditions (Figs. 1 and 2).
The alternate pinnate leathery leaves have from two to eight
(usually five to seven) opposite or alternate leaflets which are
oblong-lanceolate or ovate-acuminate with a wedge-shaped base,
from 2Y to 8 inches long and from 1 to 21/ inches wide, deep
green and glabrous above, glaucous and glabrous or very nearly
so below. The lateral veins of the leaflets are somewhat obscure.
The petiolules are short (1/2 to 1/ inch in length). The tawny
puberulent inflorescence is a terminal erect or ascending branch-
ing panicle varying in size up to a foot in length. The apetalous
greenish white flowers are small (1/12 to 1/8 inch wide), with
4-5 valvate, dentate sepals. The 6-10 stamens are exserted. The
ferruginous hairy ovary is two-celled with the stigma having
two recurved lobes. The fleshy disk is glabrous. Flowers are
either perfect, having male and female elements in the same
flower; male, having only stamens; or female, lacking stamens
but possessing a pistil. All three types are produced on the
same tree but only the perfect and female flowers are capable
of producing fruit.
Observations made in South Africa indicate that the ratio of
male and female flowers was found to differ from year to year
on the same tree. Mature fruits usually are solitary or occasion-
ally may be paired with an undeveloped fruit. The fruiting
panicles contain from several to several dozen fruits (Fig. 3).
The mature fruit may be described botanically as most nearly
resembling a one-seeded berry. Depending on the variety, the
fruit may be round to ovate in shape and variable in size up to
11/ inches in diameter. The thin leathery shell or pericarp of
the ripe fruit is bright red in color in most varieties, which pre-
sents a striking contrast to the deep lustrous green foliar back-
ground. The pericarp is rough in appearance, its surface being
covered with more or less angular or conical protuberances.

The Lychee in Florida 9

Fig. 3.-Fruiting branch of Brewster lychee. (Photo by J. J. Steinmetz.)

e s-



/ t~



- I I I -

I ~cll



Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Beneath the shell and completely surrounding the seed is the
edible aril or pulp which is translucent, pearl white in color, and
not unlike the consistency of a grape in texture. The single,
oblong, shiny, chestnut brown seed is attached at the base to
the aril (Fig. 4). In many fruits the seed fails to develop fully,
the shrivelled abortive seed comprising but a small portion of
the whole fruit.

Fig. 4.-Lychee fruits cut to show arils and seeds.


The fruit of the fresh lychee is a good source of ascorbic acid,
a fair source of niacin, but has only a trace of riboflavin and is
deficient in thiamine and vitamin A. The fruit is also a good
source of phosphorus but contains very little calcium and iron.
Analyses by Stahl (22) of lychee fruits obtained from trees in
Homestead are shown in table at top of next page.


Groff (5) in his text on Litchi chinensis prefers the use of
"lychee" for the English spelling and pronunciation of the com-
mon name, justifying this form in preference to other spellings
because, as he states, "the word lychee will best convey the cor-

The Lychee in Florida

Minimum Maximum Average

Seed .......................... ................ .. 12.0 19.8 15.9
Shell (pericarp) ......... ... .... ....... 9.3 9.9 9.6
Edible portion (aril) .................... 70.1 78.1 74.5
M oisture ......................................... 76.5 80.8 78.2
Acid (as citric acid) ............... 0.96 1.32 1.2
O il ............... .................. ....... 0.5 1.6 0.97
Protein ...................... ........... ... 0.2 1.3 0.94
Ash ................................... ....... 0.5 1.0 0.69
Free reducing sugars .................... 6.0 7.3 6.89
Hydrolyzable sugars ................ .... 4.2 6.9 6.68
Total sugars .......... ..................... 12.9 14.12 13.57
The fruits analyzed averaged approximately 30 to the pound and the
specific gravity range was 1.064-1.086.

rect Cantonese sound of the word." In Hawaii (24) and the
U. S. A. this Cantonese spelling and pronunciation are rapidly
gaining favor.
On the other hand, in India, South Africa, and northern China,
or wherever Mandarin is spoken, the accepted pronunciation for
the fruit is "lee-chee", and the preferred spelling is identical with
the generic name, "litchi".
Many other anglicized forms of spelling for the common name
have been proposed, including litchee, lichee, leechee, lici, laichi,
and lychi, but none of these has been favorably received.

Groff (5) describes and lists 49 varieties of the lychee from
the province of Kwangtung, China, and refers to Ts'ai Hsiang's
treatise on the lychee as saying there are a thousand varieties.
The varieties grown in India are not well established (9), while
the rapidly expanding commercial plantings in South Africa
consist of one variety, Mauritius (14). In Hawaii (24) 16
varieties of lychee are well established.
To date in Florida the layered plants offered for sale by the
several nursery establishments have been almost exclusively
confined to one variety which has been sold under the name of
the 'Brewster' lychee. This variety was obtained from Hengwha
in the province of Fukien by the Rev. W. N. Brewster. Plants
sent in 1903 and 1906 were successfully grown to maturity in
Florida and thousands of plants have been propagated from these
original trees and their progeny. Until as recently as 1948
this variety continued to be known only as the 'Brewster' lychee.
At the suggestion of Groff, Lai-Yung Li and Chu-Ying Chou

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

(7, 11) visited Hengwha, the source locality of the so-called
Brewster, and after studying the varieties of lychee found there
they are inclined to believe that the Brewster is none other than
the recognized Chinese variety Chen-tze.
Groff (5) states that Ts'ai Hsiang in his writings recorded as
many as 12 forms of this variety or class known in Hengwha as
the Chen Family Purple.
Since publication of the Chinese varietal designation of the
Brewster lychee, a commercial establishment in Florida is mar-
keting fruit of this variety under the name of "Royal Chen."
A number of seedling trees have produced fruit in Florida in
recent years. Several of these seedlings appear worthy of ob-
servation and in time may merit varietal designation.
While several other named Chinese varieties are to be found in
several South Florida plantings, usually as individual specimens,
it is too early at present to comment on their performance as
compared with the Brewster lychee.

The lychee is best suited to subtropical conditions. It will
not thrive in regions where heavy frosts are experienced. With
reference to the Canton area, Groff (5, 6) states that the lychee
does best on the lower plains where the summer months are hot
and wet and the winter months are dry and cool.
At Homestead, Florida, temperatures of 28 F. have been
experienced and no injury was observed on bearing lychee trees
that were not in active growth. Where exposed to temperatures
below 320 F. young, tender growth may readily be killed. Young
air-layered trees have been killed back to near the ground level
and in some instances killed outright in unprotected field plant-
ings when temperatures of 29-30 F. were experienced. At the
large lychee orchard at Laurel, Florida, it has been reported
that the temperature has been as low as 230 F. for a few hours,
but by the use of wood fires in the orchard, no severe loss was
sustained. In general limited observations made to date in South
Florida indicate that the mature lychee is hardier than mango
and avocado but somewhat less hardy than sweet orange. Pro-
vision for frost protection similar to that used for citrus, mango
and avocado plantings should be made for lychee plantings in
The lychee responds favorably to high temperatures during
late spring and summer months when accompanied by adequate

The Lychee in Florida

moisture conditions. During this period the fruit matures and
the tree makes a general vegetative growth. For floral initiation
the lychee apparently requires cool winters (with temperatures
above freezing but below 40' F.). Groff (5) states that "peri-
odic cold snaps in winter between 30 and 400 F. seem to give
the lychee the physiological changes necessary for fruit bearing.
It has long been noted that while the lychee may make beautiful
growth where winter temperatures are most pleasing to humans
the trees seldom bear." Marloth (14) comments similarly,
"It was noted in Java and Mombassa by the writer that while
trees grew excellently under the tropical conditions existing on
the equator where winter and summer minimum temperatures
did not differ greatly, it was only in occasional years that the
trees flowered and set fruit and then only in limited quantities."
It has been reported also that lychee trees in Hawaii, Cuba,
Philippines, Panama and other Central American countries pro-
duce good vegetative growth and make handsome trees, but
flowering and fruiting are erratic or seldom occur.
The lychee in all probability requires a dormant period follow-
ing vegetative growth in order that flower buds be initiated.
During this period vegetative shoots produced in summer and
early fall months store carbohydrates which are assumed to be
associated with the process of floral differentiation. Where the
nutritional level is high and where abundant moisture and hot
temperatures prevail constantly, one vegetative flush will be
succeeded by others without the appearance of a general bloom.
Vegetative growth of mature, bearing trees during late fall and
early winter months is undesirable because it lowers the chances
of flower formation and adds the risk of exposure to frost killing
of the young tender growth.
The dormant period in South Florida is brought on by a normal
decrease in rainfall in the fall months, as well as a normal lower-
ing of the average temperature. Cold spells in November and
December also help to bring about cessation of vegetative growth.
Attempts have been made to induce dormancy with chemicals.
It has been reported in Hawaii (21) that the use of sprays con-
taining sodium napthalene acetate (SNA) "hastens the matura-
tion of vegetative terminals and prevents their further growth
. and in due time the hormone-sprayed terminals mature .
If this matured state is obtained and maintained during the
critical period of November and December, then flower inflores-
cence will develop." It was found that the spray, which was
applied four times at two-week intervals, must be initiated on

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

or before September 30 if the SNA concentration per spray is
50 ppm. If the concentration is increased to 150 ppm the spray
program may be initiated by the end of October. If the con-
centration is 200 or 400 ppm it can be applied in one spraying
at the end of November. Similar tests conducted at the Sub-
Tropical Experiment Station have shown that vegetative growth
can be inhibited by SNA and the production of floral buds thus
encouraged. Further tests, however, are needed before this treat-
ment can be recommended.
For optimum growth the lychee requires a fairly high moisture
supply. Marloth (14) states that "unless there is an annual
rainfall of at least 50 inches, effective and distributed through-
out the major portion of the year, irrigation must be practiced
if normal crops are to be obtained. Under no circumstances
should the lychee tree ever be stinted of water."
The average annual rainfall for the southern portion of Florida
is over 50 inches, with at least two-thirds occurring from June
through October. This seasonal precipitation may vary con-
siderably from year to year. In some years drought conditions
are experienced during the summer months or heavy precipita-
tion may occur during the winter months. While the normal
decrease in rainfall during the late fall and early winter months
is desirable from the standpoint of floral development, any pro-
longed dry spells after fruit set may reduce the fruit crop con-
siderably, even to the extent of crop failure. Where adequate
irrigation is provided, however, the drought factor during the
spring and summer months can be controlled. On the other hand,
if rains occur during the fall and early winter months the trees
may send out vegetative growth which will seriously interfere
with the flowering period and subsequent fruit set. Also, heavy
rainfall during the blossom period may seriously curtail the
amount of fruit set (14).
The relatively high humidity that prevails in Florida is desir-
able from the standpoint of lychee culture. Where low humidity
is experienced it is common for the developing and ripening lychee
fruits to split open.

The lychee is grown on a variety of soil types. In Hawaii
(10) it has been grown chiefly on very heavy soils. Observa-
tions in South Africa led Marloth (14) to conclude that "although
a deep loamy soil is most preferred for the lychee, the tree gives

The Lychee in Florida

satisfactory performance on many soil types, provided there is
sufficient depth and they are well drained. Trees planted on any
acid soil make much more vigorous growth than those on neutral
or slightly alkaline soils. Saline soils are unsuited for lychee
From observations it appears that the lychee can withstand
occasional flooding that would prove fatal to avocados and citrus.
but prolonged flooding, particularly where stagnant water en-
gulfs the major portion of the feeding root area for a period
of several weeks or more, may prove fatal. Such exposure has
killed several young plantings on the flatwood soils of Palm
Beach County. Groff (6) observed that "trees planted along
the dykes of the Canton delta are subjected in flood season to
submersion of the root systems for 10 days to two weeks without
serious injury. But in appearance such trees seemed dwarfed
in comparison with those grown on higher, better drained soils."
The present opinion among lychee growers in Florida is that
good lychee culture requires the maintenance of a water table
level somewhere below 21/ feet from the soil surface.
According to Groff (5), Coville's lychee seedling pot culture
experiments indicated better growth in an acid medium (2 parts
peat to 1 part of clean sand) which was in part attributed to the
roots in this medium being covered with tubercles filled with
mycorrhizal fungi. Yet healthy vigorous plants have been ex-
amined which were completely devoid of any signs of these
mycorrhizal tubercles.
However, observations made in Bihar, India (9), indicate that
the best lychee plantings were those on soils having a lime
content of about 30 percent. Hayes (9), writing on the lychee
in India, concludes that it is probably capable of growing well
on either acid or basic soils.
On moist sandy soils containing some organic matter along
the southwestern coast of Florida (Fort Myers-Bradenton) the
tree has made excellent growth. Young healthy plantings as
well as some luxuriant mature trees can be found growing on
sandy loam soils in the citrus section of Polk County. Several
vigorous healthy young specimens were observed growing on
muck soils in Palm Beach County. Healthy fruiting specimen
trees of the Brewster lychee have been grown on the oolitic
limestone soils of south Dade County (Fig. 2).
Very little research data has been reported on the fertilizing
of lychee. No experimental data are available on nitrogen, phos-
phorus and potash requirements for this plant.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

In China manuring is commonly practiced, night soil being
used for this purpose. The usual practice is to manure the trees
every three months. On the naturally fertile soils of India the
trees are reported to thrive with little or no manure being used,
although the use of leaf mold or farmyard manure is recom-
mended. Marloth (14) recommends the use of cattle manure
at the rate of 50 pounds for young trees, up to 500 pounds for
large mature trees. This is spread over the whole area in which
roots are found, as well as under the tree up to the trunk.
In Florida both commercial fertilizer and manure have been
used for feeding lychees. At the Sub-Tropical Experiment Sta-
tion a fertilizer formula of 4-7-5-3 (MgO), with 40 percent of
the nitrogen derived from organic sources, has been used on
bearing trees with good results. These trees, 8 to 16 years old,
12 to 20 feet high, and with a spread of 16 to 25 feet, have re-
ceived from 8 to 12 pounds of fertilizer per tree per application,
the amount used per tree varying with the size and age of in-
dividual trees. The fertilizer is spread around the tree in the
area starting 1 foot from the trunk and extending 2 to 3 feet
beyond the canopy of branches. Non-bearing trees, 1 to 3 years
old, 2 to 4 feet tall, and with a spread of 3 to 6 feet, have received
from 3/4 to 3 pounds of fertilizer per tree per application of
4-9-3-3 (MgO). As in the case of the bearing trees, the amount
of fertilizer depends on the size and age of the tree.
While experimental evidence is lacking as to time of applica-
tion of fertilizer, it appears that a high level of nutrient supply
should be maintained during the fruit development period and
the period of active vegetative growth, namely, spring and sum-
mer months. If vegetative dormany is to be encouraged in bear-
ing trees, fertilizer should be withheld in the fall and early
winter months prior to blooming. Applications in March, May,
and July for bearing trees should be sufficient. Non-bearing
trees, especially for the first year, should be fertilized monthly.
As the trees become larger, the period may be extended to every
other month, and when the plants are 5 to 6 years old, they can
be fertilized the same as bearing trees.
It is advisable to maintain a heavy straw mulch (Fig. 2)
which, as it decays, will provide a zone of neutral or slightly
acid organic material in which the lychee roots will feed.
Evidence of some minor element deficiencies has been observed
and corrected on Brewster lychee trees growing on the limestone
soils of south Dade County through the use of a nutritional spray

The Lychee in Florida

containing copper, zinc, and manganese.' Three nutritional
sprays per year are recommended for small trees, while one such
spray per year should suffice for large trees.
An iron deficiency in lychee growing in alkaline soils has pre-
vented the successful growth of certain varieties. Partial cor-
rection of this condition was obtained by heavy mulching, but
iron sprays have not been successful. Soil applications of iron
in the form of EEDTA iron chelate have been used to correct
chlorosis in lychees at the Sub-Tropical Experiment Station (13).
On young trees one application containing 4 grams (1/7 ounce)
of metallic iron was sufficient. Higher rates will probably be
necessary for older trees, but these rates have not been estab-
Lynch and Nelson (12) recommend fertilizing young trees
every 60 days with 4-8-5 fertilizer containing 40 to 50 percent
of the nitrogen derived from organic sources, applying 12 to 1
pound per tree, but increasing the amount as the trees become
larger. In addition, 1 to 2 pounds of sewage sludge or 1/2 bushel
of well rotted cow manure or compost should be placed around
each tree under the mulch.
While there is no experimental evidence as a basis for recom-
mendations in fertilizing lychees in acid sandy soil in Central
Florida, some of the lychee growers are obtaining satisfactory
growth on non-bearing trees by using fertilizer containing 3 or
4 percent nitrogen, 7 or 8 percent phosphorus, 5 to 8 percent
potassium, and 2 or 3 percent magnesium. Bearing trees have
responded well and given good fruit production when a fertilizer
with a formula of 4-6-6-2 (MgO) has been used. Although there
is no evidence that minor elements are needed, it has been the
practice to include copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and boron in
the fertilizer. Fertilizer applications are generally made in
February, May, and August. The amount per tree for non-
bearing plants varies from 1/8 to 6 pounds for trees 1 to 5 years
old, while bearing trees received 10 to 25 pounds per tree, de-
pending on size and age. Growers who have employed the above
fertilizer practices have reported that nutritional sprays have
not been necessary.

3The nutritional spray used with good results contains 2 pounds of
copper sulfate (or its equivalent in one of the neutral coppers), 2 pounds
of zinc sulfate, 2 pounds of manganese sulfate, plus 2 pounds of lime for
neutralization, per 100 gallons of water.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


The lychee is propagated by vegetative means in all regions
where it is grown for fruit production. Air layering (marcot-
ting, mossing off, gootee) is used exclusively by all commercial
nurseries engaged in its propagation (1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 14, 18).
Several references are made in lychee literature to the success-
ful employment of grafting and inarching in Hawaii and China.
Experimental success has been reported with grafting, inarch-
ing, and rooting lychee cuttings in the United States, but as
yet none of these techniques has been adopted commercially.
The lychee may also be grown from seeds.
Air Layering.-While air layering may be accomplished with
some degree of success during different seasons, spring (or as
soon as the danger of frost has passed) is the most suitable
period to undertake propagation. Layering during the summer
months may expose the layers to loss and damage due to the
incidence of hurricanes. On the other hand, losses due to freez-
ing weather may be encountered during the winter months.
In air layering in Florida (Fig. 5), branches approximately
1/ inch in diameter are usually selected, although branches some-
what smaller, as well as larger in diameter, up to 2 inches or more,
can be layered. These branches are girdled by removing a ring
of bark (approximately 1 inch wide) at about 14 to 20 inches
from the terminal end of the branch. Some lychee propagators
permit the girdled branches to remain unwrapped for two days
after girdling, the belief being that the exposure of the girdled
branch area will encourage the formation of callus tissue and
reduce the danger of decay.
Marloth (14) claims that better rooting is achieved where
the exposed area, particularly the cut edge of the remaining
bark, is treated with growth-promoting substances such as in-
doleacetic acid.
Sphagnum moss (either the processed baled dry moss or local
fresh moss) should be soaked in water and the excess moisture
squeezed out with firm hand pressure. A full handful of moss
should be distributed slightly above and more below and en-
circling the girdled portion of the branch. The moss is then
wrapped in place with a sheet of plastic rubber (such as vinyl-
film). Application for patent has been made for the use of
rubber plastic sheets in the process of air layering by the late
Wm. R. Grove (8), who first employed this technique. Sheets
measuring 8" by 10" to 10" by 12" will be sufficient in size to

The Lychee in Florida

wrap the moss securely about the girdled branches. The edges
of the plastic sheet should be lapped or folded over to prevent
entrance or loss of moisture, and the ends of the plastic sheet
should be tied securely above and below the moss contained
within. Tying can be done with rubber grafting bands or wrap-
ping twine, or both. The principal advantage in using the plastic
rubber sheet for wrapping is that the moisture content of the
moss remains adequate for the rooting of the girdled branch to


Fig. 5.-Air layering a branch of the lychee tree.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

take place, thus eliminating the laborious task of supplying
moisture to the moss that would be necessary if the plastic wrap
were not employed. Bird damage to the plastic wrapping has
been experienced. This can be avoided by tying a conical wrap
of paper above and completely encircling the plastic covered
air layer.
Within three to four months after layering newly formed
roots should be visible through the plastic wrap.
After an adequate root system has developed, within four to
eight months, the air layer should be removed by cutting the
branch below the plastic wrap. Excess branches and leaves are
trimmed to balance the top with the root system that has de-
veloped in the moss. The rooted layers should then be planted
in containers after the plastic wraps are removed. For layered
plants of the smaller stem caliper (1/2 inch or less), No. 10 cans
or 6-quart, tar-paper pots should suffice. Considerable loss may
be experienced if the rooted layers are not handled carefully.
The potting soil should be rich in organic matter such as com-
post, muck, or humus. Where these materials are not available,
peat moss should be incorporated in the potting soil. By no
means should sand or heavy clay soil be used, since these soils
will tend to pack, excluding air from the soil and resulting in
the death of the roots. During the process of potting, care
should be used in packing the soil to avoid tearing or breaking
the tender roots.
After potting, the plants should be placed in the shade and
provided with wind protection. The soil in the containers should
not be permitted to dry out. Better survival of layers will be
obtained if the potted plants can be placed in a very humid
atmosphere for several weeks or until the roots have had time
for sufficient growth. Sprays that are directed into the air, but
not onto the plants or in the soil in the containers, will help to
increase the atmospheric humidity; they have been employed
with success in establishing layers in containers. If the layers
are potted on a large scale they should be placed in a slat shade
where sprays can be distributed by electric fans and thus help
to keep the atmosphere humid. This method has been used with
considerable success at the University of Miami.
The potted layers should be fertilized monthly with about 1/4
to 1/2 ounce of a 4-7-5 fertilizer or alternate applications of 4-7-5
with one of nitrogenous tankage or well-rotted chicken manure.
If the layers are removed and potted late in summer, it will
require several months for their root systems to become well

The Lychee in Florida

established. It is recommended that they be grown in the con-
tainers until the beginning of the following rainy season. It is
also advisable to shift the larger and more vigorous growing
layered plants into larger containers (two- to three-gallon cans)
if they are to be carried over the winter in containers. This will
result in having larger, sturdier plants to set out in the field. It
is also desirable to expose the layered plants gradually to less
shaded conditions about a month prior to field planting to avoid
the effect of shock due to too great a contrast in light intensities.
Cuttings.-Some success has been had at the Sub-Tropical
Station in rooting cuttings under a constant mist; stems about
1/, inch in diameter and 8 inches long, treated with a rooting
hormone, produced roots in three months. However, only 1 out
of 10 cuttings rooted in this manner. Ochse (16), using a fog
propagator in full sunlight and weekly nutritional waterings,
obtained 80 percent success in rooting branch-tip cuttings that
were in active flush in April and May. Dormant cuttings, on
the other hand, callused but produced no roots. Cooper et al. (4)

Fig. 6.-Brewster lychee inarched on a lychee seedling.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

described a method of rooting cuttings of the Sweetcliff lychee
by treating leafy cuttings with indoleacetic acid.
Grafting and Inarching.-Cleft grafting of young seedlings
has been reported by Cobin (3) to be successful. Pope and
Storey (17) in Hawaii were able to side tongue graft approxi-
mately one-year-old seedlings. Inarching on young lychee seed-
lings (3) has been employed at the Sub-Tropical Station with
good results (Fig. 6). Seedling lychee plants were grown in
five- and six-inch pots using screened sphagnum moss or a mix-
ture of equal parts of screened sphagnum and peat moss. These
seedlings were fed weekly with a well-balanced nutrient solution.
Within 10 to 12 months these seedlings developed a caliper of
1/4 to 3/8 inch. The moss-grown seedlings were removed from
the pots with the ball of moss intact. The moss ball was thor-
oughly moistened and then completely wrapped with a sheet of
plastic rubber. The low weight and nature of the plastic wrap-
ped moss-cultured seedling permitted it to be easily secured to
a corresponding small caliper branch of the desired scion tree
with ordinary wrapping twine. Strips of the rubber plastic
were wrapped over the rubber grafting bands that secured the
inarch, which was 2 to 3 inches in length. The inarched plants
were removed 4 weeks later. The plastic wraps were removed
and the plants were reset in their original sized containers.
There was no need of watering during the month that the seed-
lings were attached to the scion tree.
The inarching method has been employed at the Sub-Tropical
Station to propagate Chinese, Indian, and African varieties on
Brewster air layers. The air layers, after being allowed to be-
come well established in containers, are inarched (Fig. 7) as
described above. Approximately 10 months later the inarched
branches are severed from the parent plant, thus producing a
varietal top on a Brewster root stock.
Budding and side grafting have been reported to be very diffi-
cult (3). Venning (26), in his study of the anatomy of the
lychee stem, pointed out the peculiar behavior of the cambium.
He found that only 1/3 of the cambium is active at any one par-
ticular time. Since the external stem surface offers no clue as
to which of the cambium are active, it is purely by chance that
active areas of the cambium of stock and scion will be brought
together to result in successful union.
The grafting of lychee on related species has not been thor-
oughly investigated. Higgins (10) in Hawaii reported success-
fully bark grafting the lychee on longan trees but reports that

The Lychee in Florida 23

subsequent growth
was not normal. One. J
of the first lychee
trees grown by the
Royal Palm Nursery
in Florida was said
to be budded on the
longan (20). Others
have reported graft-
ing, budding, or in-
arching onto longan
stock, but there has
been some evidence
of dwarfing and in-
compatibility. Species
other than the longan
have not been tried.
Groff (5) suggests
that the wild lychee
of the Philippines,
Litchi philippinensis
Radlk., since it is the
most closely related
species, should be p,
given a trial as a .G
rootstock for the
Seeds. While
seedling trees can be
grown fairly readily, '
because of uncertain Fig. 7.-Inarching of Kwai Mi lychee (left) on
e a Brewster layer.
quality of the fruit
and the extremely long period before seedlings come into bear-
ing, they are not advocated for field planting except for experi-
mental purposes. Seedling trees often do not produce any fruit
until they are 10 to 15 years of age or older. Seeds when re-
moved from the fruit should be planted immediately, as they
lose viability in a matter of a few days. Germination of fresh
seed will occur within two to three weeks after planting.
In different parts of the world spacing of lychee trees varies
considerably, from 20 feet apart along dykes in China to 40 feet

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

apart on the rich soils of India, while in South Africa (14) it
is recommended that trees should not be spaced closer than 40
feet apart and under best growing conditions a 50-foot spacing
is preferred.
Any portion of a mature lychee tree that does not have full
exposure to sunlight will have its fruiting potential reduced con-
siderably. In mixed plantings where mature lychees are to be
found growing in close proximity with other tree species, the
lychee assumes an erect habit and the fruit production of these
trees is limited to the uppermost exposed branches.
It is, therefore, desirable to know the size that a given variety
of lychee will attain at maturity in a given locality before the
most suitable spacing arrangement can be recommended. Such
information is not available at present for a number of locations
in the State where the lychee tree is currently being planted
(Fig. 8).
At Auburndale, a specimen tree (24 years old) of Brewster
lychee is reported to have developed a spread of about 42 feet.
A number of other vigorous specimen trees indicate similar vigor

Fig. 8.-Lychee planting on Merritt Island, Florida, photographed 2% years
after planting. (Photo by J. B. Pinkerton.)

l I / ,- ': r' '* "

.. ,. -. ,. .- .,

44 a ;
.,. .:, :- ... ., ; ,,l, ,(
i. J .- ., ."- .. .,. :I" ,,.: ;:,." _, li L
... ~.. .:: .. : ,. :

The Lychee in Florida

in favorable locations in the Ridge district. In Dade County
measurements of a number of 14-year-old trees growing at dif-
ferent locations gave a variation in spread of from 15 to over 30
feet in diameter.
In Dade County a spacing of lychee trees should not be less
than 25 feet, and the size of individual bearing trees indicates
that 30 to 35 feet would prove better.
On the deeper sandy loam soils of the citrus Ridge district,
orchard plantings of lychee may be spaced 40 to 50 feet apart in
each direction with an additional tree planted in the center of
each square of four trees. This fifth tree should be either
removed or pruned back when its growth in time may crowd the
trees planted on the square.
Liberal use of compost and/or well-rotted manure thoroughly
mixed with the soil in the planting hole is a recommended pro-
cedure when planting lychee trees. Marloth (14) recommends
that large planting holes at least 21/4 feet deep and 21/2 feet in
diameter be prepared several months prior to planting and that
liberal amounts of compost or manure be thoroughly incorpor-
ated into the soil with which the hole is filled as a means of
inducing early and rapid tree growth.
In the rocky soil of south Dade County large holes (3 to 4 feet
in diameter and 1 to 2 feet deep) should be prepared and filled
with rich soil. Lynch and Nelson (12) recommend using sewage
sludge, superphosphate, and well-rotted compost material, mixed
with hammock or muck sand. This mixture is allowed to remain
in the hole for at least two weeks before the plants are set.
While lychee plants may be planted at almost any season of
the year, planting in late spring or at the inception of the rainy
season appears to be the most desirable field planting period.
The high moisture requirements essential for good lychee growth
demand that adequate irrigation facilities be provided. At no
time should the young, growing tree be permitted to suffer
from lack of soil moisture. After planting, the maintenance of
a heavy mulch about each tree is advised.
Partial shading and provision for wind protection of the young
field-planted trees are recommended. It is especially important
to protect young trees from hot, drying winds that prevail in
February through May. Individual square-shaped windbreaks
of cheesecloth, burlap material, or camouflage net, laid over
chicken wire and placed all around the plant or only on three
sides, but with the top open, can be used.
In exposed locations where strong winds are likely to prevail

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

it is advisable to provide windbreak plantings. Groff (6) speaks
of the lychee in China as being able to withstand typhoon winds
of 75 to 100 miles per hour and sometimes of even greater inten-
sity with little branch damage experienced, yet he points out
the need for wind protection to prevent foliar damage and achieve
optimum growth.
Besides the use of windbreak trees, maintenance of a cover
crop on sandy soils will help prevent sandblasting of the bark
and foliage that cocurs with high winds.
In the event of hurricanes, major damage to young field
plantings (trees up to three years of age) can be avoided by
wrapping the trees securely with burlap and twine for the
duration of the storm.
Cultivation of the soil to any depth should be avoided, as the
lychee is a shallow-rooted plant.

Pruning is not considered important in the successful culture
of the lychee. Some pruning may be advantageous in providing
a good framework for the young tree.
The customary procedure in the harvesting of the fruit in
China is to break off many of the twigs and branchlets along
with the fruit. This is recognized as a form of pruning and
believed to be helpful in the production of new shoots which will
be the bearing shoots of the succeeding crop.
In Burma (9) the pruning of branches is recommended where
crowding occurs. It is also reported from India that a tem-
porary rejuvenation of old trees may be had through heavy
pruning, causing them to produce sizeable fruits for several
subsequent years.

Fruit Yields.-Data concerning annual yields of the lychee in
Florida are scant. Lack of sufficient bearing orchard or grove
plantings in Florida makes it extremely difficult to arrive at valid
estimates of expected yields. The common practice of estimat-
ing potential orchard yields on the basis of the crop of one tree
in one year can be extremely misleading. The degree of success
of lychee orchardry in large measure will be determined by the
average annual yields of marketable fruit produced in orchard
plantings over a period of years.
While layered trees may produce fruit before they are four
to five years old, yields obtained from these young trees are small.

The Lychee in Florida

Groff (5) states that in China layered trees are not in their
prime until from 20 to 40 years old and that, if provided adequate
cultural care, they may continue bearing good crops for more
than a century.
Average annual yields for mature lychee trees have been
reported as follows: In India, 164 to 324 pounds; Queensland
(23) and Hawaii, 200 to 300 pounds; and South Africa, 250
pounds (for well cared for trees over 30 years old). Individual
mature trees in China have been reported to have yielded over
1,000 pounds in one crop.
A 24-year-old tree at Auburndale, Florida, is recorded as
having yielded about 400 pounds of fruit during 1948, while 155
pounds was harvested from a 10-year-old tree at Laurel.
On Dade County oolitic limestone soil, mature Brewster trees
have been rather erratic in their fruit production. The following
table summarizes the yields from 1947 through 1953 of eight
Brewster trees in the Sub-Tropical Experiment Station's col-

Yield in Pounds.

in Field 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953

1936 .... 16 0 19 0 32 5 6
1936 ... 0 0 13 0 5 0
1936 0 0 0 52 141 4 25 ,
1944 0 0 0 0 0 0
1945 0 0 0 0 26 4312
1945 0 0 0 91/2 11' 0 82
1945 .. 0 0 0 11/2 11 6 12 0
1948 ... 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

The most outstanding yield was in 1953 from the eight-year-old tree
(Fig. 2) that produced 43 pounds of fresh fruit.

Harvesting.-The fruit of the Brewster normally ripens dur-
ing June or early July. As all fruits do not ripen simultaneously,
several pickings should be made to avoid harvesting immature
fruit. In South Africa the recommended harvesting procedure
is to spot pick the fruit every few days during the three- to
four-week period the fruits mature on the tree.
The development of the full color of the shell of the fruit and
its final swelling, which is indicated by the extension of the

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

scale-like sections, denotes when the fruit is sufficiently ripe to
The whole fruiting panicle or cluster is broken off the tree in
harvesting (cover photograph). If individual fruits are picked
they should be picked with a portion of the panicle branch at-
tached. Attempts to remove the fruit without the stalk attached
will usually result in rupturing the pericarp or shell and conse-
quent rapid spoilage of fruit.
The fruit should be free of dew at the time of harvest; other-
wise rapid discoloration of the shell may occur.
In picking the fruit and in handling it, care should be taken
to avoid bruising and crushing. Field containers should not be
filled over 10 inches deep; otherwise the bottom fruits may be
Marketing.-Because of the limited lychee fruit production
to date in Florida, well-defined marketing procedures for fresh
fruits have not been established to conform with those of the
more commonly produced fruits in Florida. The small amount
of fruit offered for sale up to now still places the lychee in the
rare fruit category.
A ready market for this fruit, which required no advance
salesmanship or promotion, was found in the large cities con-
taining a sizeable population of Chinese people, who were willing
to pay premium prices in order to obtain these fruits which are
considered by them to be the choicest of all their native fruits.
Retail prices as high as $1.85 a pound have been obtained. Where
fruit has been purchased in bulk from the grower, the estimated
average price is reported to be about 75 cents a pound.
Much of the fruit is shipped in containers direct to the con-
sumer or wholesaled in packages containing one pound or less.
Some growers pick the fruit when it is fully formed, red in
color on the side exposed to the light and just as the green color
on the shaded portion begins to disappear. The fruits are
shipped in mango or avocado lugs, with about 10 pounds per
lug. The lugs are shipped by air freight to Northern markets.
Fruit thus picked and shipped will remain in good condition for
seven to eight days. If kept in cold, dry storage, the fruit will
last three to four weeks.
The lychee fruit can be quick frozen and stored for a long
period. It retains its fresh fruit quality well when handled in
this manner.
While canning and drying lychees is practiced with large
amounts of the fruit produced in South China, the limited supply

The Lychee in Florida

of fruit produced in Florida will most likely continue to be mar-
keted exclusively as fresh fruit for years to come until the supply
is increased considerably.

Diseases.-Reports of disease incidence on lychee have been
rare from important areas of production. Groff (5) does not
list any fungus causing serious injury to lychee in South China,
although lichens, algae, and superficial molds are reported to
occur on bark and foliage.
In Florida, only one potentially serious fungus parasite of the
lychee has been observed thus far. A gill fungus, Clitocybe
tabescens (Scop. ex Fr.) Bres., killed two young lychee trees
in a commercial orchard on Merritt Island in 1951. These trees
apparently were killed rather quickly by the fungus, which
formed its characteristic cream-colored mycelial layers between
the bark and wood and also permeated the bark as much as 18
inches above the ground line (Figs. 9, 10). Numerous attacks
by this fungus have been recorded on a large variety of woody
plants from various parts of Florida, where it has been known

Fig. 9.-Lychee tree killed by the gill fungus, Clitocybe tabescens.
(Photo by George D. Ruehle.)


Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Fig. 10.-Closeup of the lower portion of the trunk of the tree in Fig. 9.
The bark has been peeled away to show the mycelial layers. (Photo by
George D. Ruehle.)

to occur since 1902 (19). From the widespread distribution of
the fungus throughout a large part of the State, it is likely that
this disease will eventually be found in other lychee orchards,
especially throughout the central portion of the peninsula. Oak
trees serve as native hosts for the fungus and it is especially
prevalent on land where oak trees have grown. Steps should
be taken to prevent the occurrence of Clitocybe infection before
the trees are planted. In clearing timbered land for orchard sites,
all roots should be removed as thoroughly as practical. This is
especially important where oak trees were growing.
Witches broom has been observed on a number of seedling
trees growing near Homestead. An unidentified fungus was
present in some of these witches brooms, but the cause of the
trouble is not definitely known.
Marloth (14) reports that in South Africa the heaviest loss

The Lychee in Florida

from disease is caused by post-harvest fungal rots. Rhizopus
nigricans Ehr., Penicillium sp., Pestalotia sp., and yeast-like or-
ganisms are said to be associated with these rots, and all of these
organisms thrive under warm, moist conditions. Marloth rec-
ommends that harvested fruit be kept dry, well ventilated and
cool until consumed.
Insect Pests.4-A number of insect pests are reported abroad
as causing damage to lychees (5, 6), none of which has yet been
identified as attacking trees growing in Florida.
Several insects have been noted on trees in the Homestead
area. Although incidence and extent of damage has been rather
insignificant, it cannot be assumed that insect damage will remain
negligible if more extensive plantings are made.
An infestation of red spider mite, Paratetranychus hawaiiensis
McGregor, has been noted which was readily controlled with a
wettable sulfur spray.
Ambrosia beetles have been observed attacking young seed-
ling trees. These beetles bore into the woody stem and may
carry a fungus or fungi which bring about the death of the
portion of the plant above the insect entry or of the entire young
Butcher (2) has observed a soft scale on a few trees. On
young potted plants he has also found the white peach scale,
Pseudaulacaspis pentagon (Targ.), which caused defoliation.
At the Sub-Tropical Station another armored scale, Pseudaula-
caspis major (Ckll.), has been observed on lychee trees growing
in slat shade. In both cases parathion gave good control. A
number of other scale-insects, including the Florida red scale,
Chrysomphalus aonidum (L.), have been reported on lychee
(15). If serious infestation with any of these species occurs,
parathion spray at recommended dosages may be used for con-
trol. Caution must be exercised in using parathion, since this
compound is toxic to humans and may cause defoliation of lychee
trees if not used properly.
An aphid (probably spirea aphid, Aphis spiraecola Patch)
has been found on leaves of young lychee plants in the slat house.
The Southern green stink bug, pumpkin or squash bug, Nezara
viridula (L.), has been found feeding on lychee fruit. Groff (5)
has also observed "some common melon stink bug" on the lychee
in Florida.

SD. 0. Wolfenbarger of the Sub-Tropical Station and E. G. Kelsheimer
of the Gulf Coast Station have furnished information on insects.

Florida Agricultural Experirment Stations

Leaf tiers have been noticed on lychee foliage, as well as shot-
hole condition on young foliage caused by some unknown insect.
Grasshoppers are occasionally troublesome. Often lychee leaves
will be found in which the margin will have characteristically
half-moon shaped areas cut out (Fig. 11). This damage is
caused by a leaf-cutting wasp.
An undetermined lepidopterous larva has been found feeding
on lychee bloom and making a web in the flower cluster. Cotton
square borer larvae, Strymon melinus (Hbn.), have been taken
in the Homestead area feeding on undeveloped fruit. Groff (6)

Fig. 11.-Lychee leaves damaged by a leaf-cutting wasp.

The Lychee in Florida

also refers to insect larvae attacking flower stem and fruit in
China and Hawaii.
On the west coast of Florida a twig pruner, Hypermallus vil-
losus (F.), has been found infesting live wood and is considered
to be potentially a serious pest. Careful pruning and destruction
of the pruned wood, however, has given adequate control.
In Manatee and Martin counties trees have been observed in
which larvae of a tineid moth were found burrowing in the bark.
Actual damage to the trees, however, seemed to be negligible
(Fig. 12).

Fig. 12.-Bark of lychee tree infested with a tineid moth larva.

By far the most troublesome pests of the lychee reported to
date have been birds, squirrels and rats.
The late Col. Wm. R. Grove of Lychee Orchards at Laurel re-
ported successful control of fruit loss due to birds by the em-
ployment of automatic carbide guns that discharge at regular
intervals of approximately 11/ minutes. In conjunction with
the carbide guns, a shotgun was employed and occasionally fired

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

so that the birds were led to believe that each report was from
the shotgun.
Another and perhaps more effective device to discourage birds
from destroying the fruit is the use of thin metallic strips,
2 inches wide and approximately 15 inches long, called "Bird
Scareaway." These strips spiral in the breeze, flash in the light,
and make a noise when moved by the wind. They have been used
with some success in vegetable fields and in a few lychee orchards.
Sheet metal guards about the tree trunks may prove effective
in curtailing fruit losses caused by rodents.


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The Lychee in Florida

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