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Sapindaceae Nephelium lappaceum L.



N. mutabile Blume

Source: Magness et al. 1971

These two species, native to the Malay Archipelago, are related to litchi, but are more tropical and the trees are smaller. The oval fruits are borne in loose, terminal or axillary clusters, are up to 2 inches long, and are covered with soft, fleshy spines about 0.5 inch in length. The skin is thin and leathery. In eating, the basal part is cut or torn away, and with slight pressure the pulpy, translucent flesh is pressed out. The flavor is tart and pleasant. These fruits are very popular in tropical Asia, but are probably too tender for any part of continental U.S.

Last update March 2, 1999