Monday, 28 January 2013

Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum)

Commonly known as Rambutan, this fruit tree is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. 

The Rambutan Tree is a medium-sized evergreen tree that grows to a height of about 12 to 20m tall. It has an open crown of large branches. The bark is greyish or red in colour. The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, and the underside has small, crater-like hills located in the axils between the mid and secondary veins. The rachis are reddish and usually hairy when young.

The small flowers are borne in terminal panicles and are whitish, greenish, and yellowish in colour. Rambutan trees are either male, female, or have mostly female flowers.

Rambutans are a spherical or ovoid drupe that are borne in clusters. The skin is a bright to deep red colour and is covered with fleshy pliable spines. The name Rambutan is derived from the Malay word rambut which means hairs. The juicy flesh of the fruit is whitish and translucent, tasting sweet with a mild acidic taste. Each fruit contains a single seed that are light brown and about 2 to 3cm long. They are mildly poisonous when raw but can be eaten after cooking. 

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