CBI Product Factsheet: Fresh Lychees in Europe
Lychee is a specialty fruit that is slowly gaining popularity in Europe, although average consumption per capita is still limited. It is most popular in France. Madagascar and South Africa supply the majority of lychees during the winter season (from October to February). Opportunities for new suppliers exist in specialties and outside of the main season.
The lychee (Litchi chinensis) is a fruit of the evergreen trees from the genus Litchi of the soapberry family. The trees originated from China and are cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia. Growing conditions should be frost-free in winter and warm temperatures in summer with high rainfall and humidity. A wide variety of cultivars are grown commercially. The fruit from the tree is 5 cm long and 4 cm wide. The inedible skin of a lychee is pink-red and roughly textured. Its flesh is white and sweet tasting. Lychees can be eaten right out of the skin.