Litchi a profitable Fruit Plant in Pakistan the delicacy Part -1
15 Jan 2013
Common Names: Lychee, Litchi, Leechee, Lichee, Lichi.
Origin :Lychee is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree native to China an now cultivated in various parts of the world.
Lychee fruit is botanically called as Litchi chinensis and commonly called as leechi, litchi, laichi, lichu or lizhi. It’s a fresh delicate fruit whitish pulp with an excellent perfume flavor usually lost during canning hence the fruit is mostly eaten fresh
Distant Affinity: Akee (Blighia sapida), Longan (Dimocarpus longan), Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), Pulasan (N. mutabile), Fijian longan (Pometia pinnata).
Pakistan and Litchi
Litchi can be grown successfully in some parts of Punjab, in KPK and Hyderabad Division of Sindh.
History of Litchi in World
Production Countries in World :
They are mostly grown in China, India, Southern Africa, Madagascar, Malaysia, Pakistan, Nepal, Northern Vietnam, Bangladesh, Taiwan, northern Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Mexico, Mayanmar, United State America.
Nutritional Value: The fruit consists of 60 % juice, 8 % rag, 19 % seed and 13 % skin varying upon variety and climate. Litchi is also an excellent source of vitamin C(40.0-90mg/100g) but it contains insignificant amount of protein (0.8-0.9%) fat (0.3%), pectin(0.43%) and minerals especially calcium, phosphorus and iron (0.7%).
Location: Lychees need full sun, but young trees must be protected from heat, frost and high winds.
Climate and soil: Generally it flourishes best in a moist atmosphere, having abundant rainfall and free from frost. Its plants grow luxuriantly at 30 C. the maximum temperature during flowering and fruit development varies from 21 C in February to 38 C in June
Litchi grows in a variety of soil types. However fairly deep, well drained loam soil rich in organic matter is best suited for its cultivation. Light sandy loam is ideal. High lime content in soil is also beneficial to its trees. If soil is deficient, lime must be added to it. Soils in north Bihar, where best litchi is grown, contain about 30%lime. A sandy loam or clay loam with a pH of 5.5-7.0 and sufficient soil depth is ideal for litchi cultivation.
Humidity: Humidity is another important factor for litchi. The hot winds in summer cause fruit cracking and subsequently damage the pulp (aril). Sometimes it limits the expansion of litchi cultivation. Wet spring, dry summer and light winter are desirable conditions for fruiting in litchi, relative humidity of 69 to 84% during the flowering of the fruit is necessary.
Frost Protection: Young Litchi trees are highly susceptible to frost and must be protected against it during the first 3 to 4 years. Lychees need warmth and a frost-free environment, but can often withstand light freezes with some kind of overhead protection. When they are young, this can be provided by building a frame around the plants and covering it with bedding, plastic sheeting, etc. when frost threatens. Electric light bulbs can also be used for added warmth.
Wind protection: Young trees benefit greatly by wind protection. This can be provided by placing stakes around each small tree and stretching cloth around them as a windscreen. In very windy locations, the entire plantation may be protected by trees planted as windbreaks but these should not be so close as to shade the lychees. The lychee tree is structurally highly wind-resistant, having withstood typhoons, but shelter may be needed to safeguard the crop. During dry, hot months, lychee trees of any age will benefit from overhead sprinkling; they are seriously retarded by water stress.
A large number of varieties are grown in different parts Pakistan . Of these, Early Bedana, Rose Scented, Dehradun, Late Bedana, China , Bombay, debruadun , kalkitta are important.
Early Bedana :It is also an early variety and its fruits ripen a few days later than those of Deshi. Fruits are small to medium in size, 3.1 cm long and 2.8 cm in diameter and its average weight is 15.2 g. Fruit’s shape is globose, lower portion is conical. Fruit is light brown in colour having regular but poor bearing.
Rose Scented :This is one of the important litchi varieties grown in r. India. The fruits have distinct rose aroma and hence called Rose Scented. The trees are vigorous and attain an average height of 7.6 metres. Fruits ripen in the second to third week of June. Fruits are rose pink in colour and its average weight is 15.2 g. Pulp is greyish white, soft, very sweet and rose flavoured. Fruits are moderately susceptible to sun burn, and bearing is moderate but regular.
Late Bedana :This is a deceptive name. It does not mean that the fruit of this variety is completely devoid of seeds. The seeds in the fruit are rather shrivelled and the proportion of flesh is relatively high. The trees are very vigorous and attain an average height of 7.5 m. The fruits usually ripen in the third week of June. Fruit colour is bright brick red and average weight is 25 g. Pulp is creamy white, soft and juicy. Fruits are moderately susceptible to cracking.
China :This is the most excellent variety of litchi grown in West Bengal. The trees of this variety are semi-dwarf with leaves relatively small. This is not a regular bearing variety. Fruits are mostly globose, a mixture of nasturtium red and marigold orange in colour. Average weight is 25 g. Pulp is creamy white, very sweet, soft and juicy with pleasant flavour. Fruits are less susceptible to sun burn and cracking.
Bombai :This is the most important commercial variety of West Bengal. The trees are vigorous with a height of 6.8 cm. Fruits are mostly heart shaped. On ripening, the tubercles turn carmine red and interspaces are uranium green in colour. Average weight of fruit varies from 15-29 g. Pulp is greyish white, soft, juicy, sweet with pleasant flavour. It is good for canning.
Debradun :This variety is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh and nearby states. It is a medium to high yielding variety , bearing fruits after 5th year of the planting. Trees are medium in vigour and fruits obliquely heart shaped. Fruit is bright pink in colour at maturity. Pulp is greyish white in colour, moderately juicy and sweet. Pulp seed I ratio is 3.75: 1 and their fruits are susceptible to sun burn and cracking
Kalcutta :This variety has proved very successful for growing in comparatively hot and dry areas. The trees of this variety I’ are poor in growth attaining an average height of 4 metres. Fruits are lopsided to oblong, deep carmine red in colour and average weight is 22 g. Pulp is dirty creamy white, soft, juicy and very sweet. Plant is heavy bearing and fruits are less susceptible to sun burn and cracking.
Litchi is raised both through seed and vegetative means.
Seed propagation :
Lychees do not reproduce faithfully from seed, and the choicest have abortive, not viable, seed. Furthermore, lychee seeds remain viable only 4 to 5 days, and seedling trees will not bear until they are 5 to 12, or even 25, years old. For these reasons, seeds are planted mostly for selection and breeding purposes or for rootstock.
Propagation by seed is not common because the plants raised from seed take 7-14 years to come into bearing. These plants normally do not produce true to type fruits and often produce fruits of inferior quality.