[NAFEX] FW: Lychees Safeguarded in ARS Collection

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon May 17 09:18:02 EDT 2004

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 08:30:40 -0400
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Lychees Safeguarded in ARS Collection

Exotic Lychees Safeguarded in ARS Botanical Library

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Marcia Wood, (301) 504-1662, MarciaWood at ars.usda.gov
May 17, 2004

Crack the thin peel of a tropical lychee and this sweet, fragrant fruit
is ready to eat. Or, enjoy lychee's juicy, nearly translucent flesh in a
compote of other exotic tropical fruits like papaya or kiwi.

A collection of lychee trees from around the world is in the care of
Agricultural Research Service scientists based at Hilo, Hawaii. This
living botanical library preserves most of the best-known commercial
lychee types, and the lesser-known varieties as well. In all, it's among
the best assemblages of lychee outside of China and Southeast Asia.

Included in this tropical treasure trove are many kinds of lychees that
are grown in Hawaii. These varieties boast a range of shapes, colors and
sizes. Hak Ip, for example, has thin, smooth, dull-red skin; round- to
heart-shaped fruit and a single, large seed inside. Chen's Purple has
bright, purplish-red skin and elliptical fruit. No Mai Tsz, the world's
most sought-after lychee because of its exceptional flavor, often has
only a single, shriveled seed inside. The seed looks like--and is
nicknamed--a "chicken tongue."

The collection also includes India's Bengal; Kwai May Pink, developed
in Australia; and Groff and Kaimana, selected from other candidate
lychee trees for their adaptability to Hawaii's soils and climates. All
are descendants of China's Litchi chinensis, the source of all of
today's commercial lychees.

Some of the specimens were donated by the University of Hawaii. Others
were collected by Francis T.P. Zee, research leader at ARS' Pacific
Basin Tropical Plant Genetic Resource Unit at Hilo, and a university
colleague, Philip Ito, on expeditions to China, Thailand and Taiwan.
Still others were provided through an exchange of specimens with
scientists in those countries.

The Hilo repository is part of a nationwide network of plant
collections managed by ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief
scientific research agency. An article in ARS' monthly magazine,
Agricultural Research, tells more. View it on the World Wide Web at:


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