Monday, 28 January 2013

Longan (Euphoria longan)

Commonly known as Longan or Dragon's Eye (longyan in Chinese), this fruit tree is native to China, India, and Sri Lanka.

The Longan Tree is an evergreen tree that grows up to about 10m tall. It has a dense crown of spreading and slightly drooping, thick branches. The erect trunk has a rough bark. The alternate, pinnate leaves are leathery, glossy green on the upper side and slightly hairy and grayish-green on the underside. New leaves are a striking reddish colour. 

The pale yellowish-green flowers have 5 to 6 petals, and are borne in upright terminal panicles.

The globose fruits are borne in drooping clusters and resemble cherries at about 1/2 to 1inch wide. They have a thin, yellow-brown rind that is slightly rough to touch. The flesh of the longan is whitish and and translucent. The juicy and moist flesh has a sweet and refreshing taste. The jet-black seed is a spherical shape, shiny, hard, and has a circular white spot at the base. The name Dragon's Eye for the longan is derived from the fruit itself whereby the black seed embedded within the whitish flesh resembles the eye of a dragon.

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