Consumer Info and News

LITCHI CULTIVARS PRODUCED IN SOUTH AFRICA

FAY ZEE SIU (Feiszixiao)

SEASON
HARVEST: early (-1)*

COMPOSITION
SKIN:     20%
ARIL:      74%
SEED:     6%

FRUIT SIZE
LENGTH:   39 mm
WIDTH:     37 mm
MASS:       28 g
*1 week earlier than Mauritius
An early to mid-season cultivar with excellent eating quality. Large fruit with juicy and delicate flesh. Fruit quality optimum when fruit are half coloured. Fruit are over-ripe when fully coloured. Heart-shaped fruit with raised shoulders and appointed tip. Thick, leathery skin. Seed is small with large edible portion. Branches are long and spreading with sparse foliage.

MCLEAN’S RED

SEASON
HARVEST: late (+2)*

COMPOSITION
SKIN:     25%
ARIL:      59%
SEED:     15%

FRUIT SIZE
LENGTH:   38 mm
WIDTH:     34 mm
MASS:       22 g

*= 2 weeks later than Mauritius

Currently the second most cultivated cultivar in South Africa. Mid-late-season cultivar with a poor flesh recovery due to large seed. Large fruit, exhibits high productivity. Fruit are attractive bright red; lopsided heart-shaped with uneven shoulders. Fruit tip is distinctively pointed. Flesh is soft, sweet and juicy. Branches have vigorous, spreading growth habit.

THIRD MONTH RED

SEASON
HARVEST: early (-7)*

COMPOSITION
SKIN:     21%
ARIL:      68%
SEED:     11%

FRUIT SIZE
LENGTH:   37.2 mm
WIDTH:     34.6 mm
MASS:       20.4 g

 

*= 7 weeks earlier than Mauritius

Thick leathery skin, large seed, Good colour. It is the earliest cultivar available in the world. The fruit can ripen as early as October in the southern hemisphere. Bird damage can be high due to the absence of other fruit during that period. The cultivar is grown in China, Hawaii, Taiwan, Australia and South Africa. The fruit is large, heart-shaped with sweet flesh and much rag. The skin is thick, tough and turns deep red when ripe. It has large seed and the flesh around the seed turns brown as maturity. The tree growth habit is upright and the foliage is dark green. The wood tends to be dry, which makes this cultivar impossible to graft successfully.

WAI CHEE (Huazhi, Kim Cheng)

SEASON
HARVEST: late (+3)*

COMPOSITION
SKIN:     22%
ARIL:      66%
SEED:     12%

FRUIT SIZE
LENGTH:   31 mm
WIDTH:     1: 33 mm
MASS:       16 g

*= 3 weeks later than Mauritius

This is the main cultivar growth in China and was only introduced to South Africa in the 1990’s. It is also grown in Australia and Taiwan. Fruit ripens late in the season. It has medium-sized round fruit with a smooth skin. The skin colour is yellow overlaid with red, but can turn beautifully red when fully ripe. The flesh is soft, juicy and fragrant and it has a medium to small seed. It is a reliable bearer with a long harvest period as fruit can stay on the tree for 14 days after maturity. The tree is compact, dome-shaped with dense foliage. The leaves are small, oval-shaped and tend to curl upwards from the midrib.

HLH MAURITIUS (Tai So, Dazao)

SEASON
HARVEST: mid (0)

COMPOSITION
SKIN:     13%
ARIL:      72%
SEED:     15%

FRUIT SIZE
LENGTH:   36 mm
WIDTH:     1: 33 mm
WIDTH:     2: 31 mm
MASS:       23 g

Mauritius is a seedling selection made in the 1800’s in Mauritius. It was introduced into South Africa in 1875 by Mr H.L. Hood. The cultivar is grown in Aystralia, China, Florida (USA), Hawaii, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Reunion, Thailand and South Africa. It is a mid-season cultivar with good quality medium-large fruit. Fruit turns red when ripe. The flesh is crisp, sweet and it has a large seed. It tends to be an alternate bearer but produces good crops in on years. The tree is vigorous with spreading growth habit and on open crown. It is susceptible to wind damage due to the weal joints in the crotches.

Source: Litchi cultivar information and photographs provided by the ARC-Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops (ARC-ITSC), Nelspruit.