From the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
W. Whitman (Founder, 1st President and Board Member Rare Fruit Council International)

Seasons in Australia are opposite to those in the US. Summer is Dec. Jan. Feb. Autumn is Mar. Apr. May. Winter is June July Aug. Spring is Sept. Oct. Nov.

More on Lychees

Scientific name: Litchi chinensis
Family: Sapindaceae

The article "Irregular Flowering In Lychees" appeared in Newsletter No.33 and was read with interest.

In Florida we have the same problems. Formerly our lychee groves were centered at about the same latitude as Orlando, or roughly 200 miles north of Miami. 'Brewster', an alternate bearing variety had been planted, a poor choice which resulted in the venture's economic failure. Recent record cold weather has resulted in the last of these plantings being frozen and abandoned, with new lychee groves appearing south of Miami. Because the new lychee groves are in a warmer area, there is less of a cold-induced winter dormancy.

One way to force the lychee to flower and fruit is to girdle the larger limbs. This is done in Florida around the first of September (Australia would be 6 months later) with a thin pruning saw. The cut is made so it goes through the cambium layer of bark just into the wood underneath. Make sure there are no skips that would allow sap to flow through the bark across the girdled part. Also, only one girdling saw cut per limb is required. Larger branches near the base of the tree with a diameter of three inches or more should be used. Only half the limbs are girdled each year with the other half treated in the same way the following year. Using this practice, the girdled part of the tree nearly always flowers and fruits in Florida whether or not the ungirdled part bears.

From the Amboina Islands near Java comes a tropical lychee that fruits regularly without any tendency towards alternate bearing in Florida and other warm climate areas. The 'Amboina' lychee has the same red, colorful appearance as the common lychee, making it difficult to tell the two apart except for its more tart taste. In Florida, the fruit run 19 to the pound which is fairly large, and mature a month to six weeks ahead of any other lychee variety. Unfortunately, the 'Amboina' is difficult to air layer, but it comes relatively true from seed.

Commercial Florida lychee groves are currently being planted mostly to 'Mauritius', which is the most consistent fruiting of our common varieties. One drawback is that it has weak branch crotches. Our largest-fruited lychee is the 'Bengal', a variety that will tolerate poor, high-pH soils where other varieties fail. The newly-introduced 'Emperor' lychee from Thailand is currently under observation in Florida. It is reported to run ten fruit to the pound and bring three times the going price for lychees on the Thai markets.

A recent development in Florida is the commercial planting of the longan (Euphoria longana), a fruit related to the lychee. One mature tree produced 600 pounds of fruit, the current price being U.S.$2.S0 a pound for the grower. Orientals are about evenly divided in their preference between the longan and lychee. With demand exceeding supply, the future for this Asiatic fruit looks promising. Florida grove owners are demanding the 'Kohala' longan for planting out, a large-fruited variety with a small seed. The usual longan with scanty flesh and big seed has no commercial market value in the U.S.A.

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Whitman, W.F. "More on Lychees." Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Sept. 1985. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.

Published 4 Mar. 2017 LR
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