From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
Whitman (Founder, 1st President and Board
Member Rare Fruit Council International)
More on Lychees
The article "Irregular
Flowering In Lychees" appeared in Newsletter No.33 and was
read with interest.
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.
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.
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.
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.