Lychee Varieties (Cultivars)
The predominant commercial lychee varieties grown in South Florida are the
Brewster and Mauritius.
While there are many different varieties of the lychee fruit, most of these unusual varieties are
relegated to private collections and backyard gardens.
The Hak ip lychee, introduced into South Florida just prior to hurricane Andrew, has experienced widespread commercial plantings and is just
now beginning to come into significant production.
The Ha-Kip is arguably the ideal lychee in that
it embodies all of the desirable characteristics that growers and aficionados desire: large size,
great flavor, a tiny seed and darker red coloration.
In our grove we also have the Bengal, Ohia, Sweet Cliff and Emperor varieties.
Of these varieties
the most interesting is the Emperor which produces an enormous unusual looking fruit of superior taste.
The only problem with the Emperor is that the tree is very slow growing and there are not commercial
If the late fall Florida weather is dry and cool lychee trees will begin to flower in December
(occasionally you might see some bloom in November) and continue to flower and set fruit through the
month of March.
Lychee trees are monoecious. This means that an individual tree produces both male and
female flowers; a situation that differs among varying types of tropical fruit trees.
Certain tropical fruit trees produce perfect flowers with male and female sexual parts (guavas, passion fruits, atemoyas, sapodillas and citrus) while other types have trees of separate sexes (genips and date palms).
When Brewster's first begin to bloom they produce predominantly male flowers on a long panicle and as the season progresses female flowers mature and open (the ovary of the female flower is what eventually becomes the fruit).
Unfortunately, a large bloom does not always translate into a bumper crop.
This coupled with the fact that lychee trees often bear fruit inconsistently influences the value of the fruit.
Identical trees given identical cultural conditions will display completely different fruiting characteristics.
Lychee growers throughout world continue to research the factors that influence productivity and there still is not a definitive answer on how to guarantee a good crop.
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